Parents fear organ removal files could lie buried

PARENTS whose deceased children had organs removed and whose hospital files are missing are concerned they may have ended up in a landfill site outside Cork city.

Yesterday, Parents for Justice, the support group for families affected by the organ retention scandal, said files of some of these children whose remains were transferred for post mortem to Cork Regional Hospital (now Cork University Hospital) from the maternity unit at St Finbarr’s Hospital in Cork city have never been located.

Charlotte Yeates, spokeswoman for the group, said they had been contacted by parents in recent days who had been unable to obtain the medical files of their deceased children. Some of these parents were concerned the pituitary glands of their offspring had been sold to pharmaceutical companies without their consent.

“A couple of our members were on to us recently saying they can’t get the information they have requested in relation to their children’s files,” she said.

“Our first thought yesterday when we heard that hundreds of medical files had been located in a dump outside Cork was, ‘is this where those missing files have ended up?’.”

Ms Yeates said the confidential files discovered in the former landfill near the village of Glounthaune, bear dates which correspond with the time when pituitary glands were being removed from deceased children without parental consent.

Of the files seen by the Irish Examiner, the files relate mainly to patients treated at either Cork Regional Hospital or St Finbarr’s Hospital in the 1970s and early 1980s when organ removal and retention was at its height.

Ms Yeates said the Health Service Executive (HSE) had a “huge task ahead” to remove the files from among the earthworks carried out as part of the preparations for laying a new rail line between Cork and Midleton.

Another member of Parents for Justice, Breda Butler, who is based in Rockchapel, Co Cork, said they had received a number of calls from distressed parents yesterday seeking advice on how to establish if files relevant to their dead children may be buried at the 15-acre site. “We directed them towards the HSE,” she said.

lThe HSE helpline for concerned parents is 1850 742 000.

Ms Butler is also contactable on 086 1037490.


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