Category: Archive

Organ inquiry asks for help

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Andrew Bushe DUBLIN — An inquiry into regulating the removal and retention of human organs by hospitals, which was set up by Health Minister Michael Martin last year, has appealed for more help as it issues its terms of reference and operating procedure. Currently, the only law in Ireland dealing with human tissue dates from the 1830s. The inquiry’s appeal comes as a scandal about organ retention in the UK is being blamed for the tragic death of baby M’bh Bradley, from County Meath, in London’s King’s College Hospital. She died after waiting 23 days for a liver transplant. M’bh’s parents, Marie and Tommy, from Kells, had already suffered the double tragedy of losing her sister Marie and brother Thomas to a rare liver illness called Neo-natal H’mochromatosis. It is believed that further tragedies could be avoided if thorough procedures for transplants are set up by the so-called “post mortem inquiry.” The first phase of the inquiry is being headed by barrister Anne Dunne, a specialist in family and child law. Her report will be referred to the all-party Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children. Health Minister Martin said that this committee will have full powers of compulsion of witnesses and documents and will arrive at its own decisions on such issues as public hearings and testimony, as it deems fit. The inquiry under Dunne will review policy, practices and procedures dating back to 1970. It is empowered to look at relevant issues in any hospital in the State if that is necessary. In particular, it will examine the application of post mortem examination policies, practices and procedures in the Dublin maternity hospitals, the Children’s hospitals at Temple St. and Crumlin and the major academic teaching hospitals. It will also investigate the role of the Department of Health, the Drug Advisory Board, the Irish Medical Council and coroners. In newspaper advertisements at the weekend, Dunne said she would shortly start the principal phase of the inquiry, which will examine documents, witness statements and submissions and will also take oral evidence. “The inquiry would welcome the assistance of any persons or bodies who might be in a position to contribute,” the advertisement said.

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