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New organ retention law for UK
[Posted: Thu 11/01/2001 www.irishhealth.com]
New legislation may be introduced in Britain, to deal with its organ retention scandal, it emerged today. A summit into organ retention in London heard that around 40,000 organs, taken from adults and children, were stored in hospitals.
The UK's chief medical officer, Professsor Liam Donaldson said that new legislation may be needed to end a practice he called 'an affront to families'.
A national survey of the practice, conducted without the permission of parents, is to be ordered soon.
Professor James Underwood of the Royal College of Pathologists insisted that organ retention was conducted, not through arrogance, insensitivity or malice, but to advance the study of disease and to help bereaved families have a better understanding of the reasons for their loss.
In 1999, it was discovered that doctors at Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool had taken and retained organs from hundreds of babies who had died there between 1988-95, allegedly without parental consent.
Separately, it emerged that a similar practice had occurred on at the Bristol Royal Infirmary.
The government set up an inquiry.
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