Press Release

Martin announces inquiry into post-mortem practices

The Minister for Health and Children, Mr Micheál Martin, T.D., today (Wednesday, 9 February, 2000) announced that he is establishing an enquiry into all issues relating to post-mortem examinations, organ removal, organ retention and organ disposal at Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children, Crumlin.

The disclosure of practices relating to the retention of childrens organs following post-mortem examinations at the hospital has caused great distress to the parents affected. In acknowledging this the Minister expresses his sympathy for the pain and the suffering being revisited on them by the disclosure.

The enquiry will establish the full facts in regard to past practice relating to post-mortem examinations at the hospital and will address the points raised by parents and by the group Parents For Justice.

The enquiry will take account of both best medical/scientific practice regarding post mortem procedures and the reasonable expectations of parents of deceased children in such circumstances.

The Minister is currently in consultation with the Attorney General in regard to both the nature of the enquiry and its terms of reference. Officials of his Department will work closely with Parents for Justice in drafting its terms of reference.

The Minister believes that the enquiry will not only help to restore public confidence in the need for and practices surrounding post-mortem examinations but will also restore full public confidence in Our Ladys Hospital for Sick Children, a leading national centre for more complex paediatric referrals.