A CORK mum whose baby’s brain was incinerated abroad without her permission has said she finds it “very hard to accept” Covid as an excuse.
Organs belonging to 18 deceased babies were incinerated with clinical waste without the knowledge or consent of their bereaved parents last year.
Lee’s brain sat in hospital storage for months after his post-mortem, before being sent to Belgium for incineration, without Leona and her partner Glenn’s knowledge or consent.
Leona, who is also mum to Lee’s twin brother Lewis, was horrified to be informed about the incineration in May of 2020 after it had taken place, and was told the Covid-19 pandemic played a role in the decision.
But furious Leona told Cork’s Red FM: “I know they’re saying it’s Covid and the uncertainty around the pandemic, they needed to clear the morgue. But 18 babies’ organs isn’t going to make enough room for even one body.
“I think it was very insensitive for them not to even contact us, pick up the phone. In the FOI you can see that they knew the graveyard was fill in January.
“They could have went and found somewhere else. I know they had been searching, but they obviously didn’t try hard enough. And we could have gave our spoke, we could have went and collected our son’s brain.
“I just don’t think they were thinking straight when they decided to incinerate our little baby’s organs.”
According to RTE investigates, staff knew early on in 2020 that the mortuary’s burial space in St Mary’s Cemetery, Curraghkippane plot was full and failed to secure further burial space or contact Leona to return baby Lee’s organs to her.
The HSE states that organs that are kept for further examination after post-mortem should be either returned to the next of kin or sensitively disposed of by burial or cremation.
Leona also said the timeline raised questions about the pandemic explanation and said she finds it “very hard” to accept it as an excuse.
‘HARD TO ACCEPT’
She said: “They said in the beginning of December they were done with his brain, they were finished all their work. So his brain was sitting there from December to March, to then get the excuse that it was Covid. For three months our son’s brain was just left on a shelf.
“And then they say it’s Covid. That’s why I find it very hard to accept Covid as an excuse.”
She added that while corresponding with the hospital about the incineration of Lee’s organs, staff didn’t seem “too worried”.
She said: “I kept saying to Glenn, maybe we’re just making this a big deal. The hospital don’t seem too worried, maybe it’s not as big as we think it is.
FIGHT FOR JUSTICE
“Our world is coming crashing down around us, we don’t know how to act or how to feel, but nobody else seems to be as bothered about it.”
Hearing that there were 17 other babies also had their organs incinerated without parental consent has given Leona “fight” to come forward and speak out.
The heartbroken mum is still trying to uncover whether Lee’s brain was incinerated with any of these other babies.
- IF you are struggling with the loss of a child or affected by this article please reach out: Anam Cara: 085 2888 888, email@example.com or Aware: 1800 80 48 48.