Report finds babies organs incinerated without parents consent

Wexford Hospital

Cork University Maternity Hospital has apologised after multiple baby organs were incinerated without the knowledge or consent of bereaved parents.

The incident took place around the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, and an internal investigation’s now underway.

This incident has come to light following an RTE Investigates report, which found the organs of 18 babies were incinerated abroad last year, despite parents seeking a burial or cremation.

Internal hospital correspondence seen by the programme shows they were sent to Belgium along with clinical waste across two days in late March and early April.

It found the babies organs were kept in storage at the CUH mortuary for several months as its burial space was full, and incineration took place to free up space due to the pandemic and a potential increase in deaths.

In a statement today, the South/South West Hospital Group, which operates the hospital, has apologised to the 18 families affected.

It says management became aware of the incident in late April 2020, and all parents affected were contacted and full disclosure took place.

It says an internal review was commissioned in April of this year and is due to report its findings in October or November.

The hospital group says all baby organs retained since the dates in question have been buried so there is no possibility other families are affected.

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