In a legal case that is reminiscent of the Alder Hay scandal where children’s organs were retained by pathologists without the consent of the grieving families, we learn today that body parts were also taken without consent from 64 former employees who worked at the Sellafield nuclear reactor between 1960 and 1991. This was done so as to test for the possible effects of radiation poisoning. A number of organs were removed including all the livers. In addition, some bones including the femur were taken and allegedly replaced by broomstick handles so that relatives would not notice. What were they thinking? Reminds me of when they stole Alistair Cooke’s bones to flog on the black market for bone transplant. Only the Sellafield cases were done for the good of the workforce.
It was clearly shoddy thinking and I expect consent would have been given but you would be surprised how many families refuse to allow organs to be harvested or retained. As I remember hearing, one typical explanation is “They have suffered enough already,” and “They need to rest.” Strange, isn’t it?
The families in the Sellafield case are said to be shocked by the revelations. One relative is quoted as saying “my family and I have been absolutely devastated as a result of what has gone on. I believe that they showed severe disrespect to my father’s body and I find this mutilation very disturbing.” But hold on a minute, the last incident happened 19 years ago… and many as far back as 50 years ago.
I am sure financial compensation will make the distress all the more bearable.