Letter: Ethics ignored at the hospital morgue

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The Independent Online
Sir: I read 'Children's growth hormone made from glands of infected corpses' (16 August) and the ensuing letters with a degree of puzzlement and concern. No one has mentioned one aspect of the subject. Ivan Biddle, the mortuary technician cited, is said to have 'collected the pituitary from every corpse he dealt with' in Barnet General Hospital. Surely this raises some questions. Should mortuary technicians have carte blanche in their treatment of corpses? Should they be expected to pay heed to ethical guidelines? Should relatives of a deceased person be asked whether the mortuary technicians might remove the pituitary and other bodily parts from the corpse? I suggest that these questions should at least be broached.

Yours faithfully,

JAMES T. WESTLAND

Nottingham

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