It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Babies who died in abortions and miscarriages at Walsall Manor Hospital, in the West Midlands, were supposed to be cremated within months of their deaths. Instead, they were stored for periods as long as four years.
The hospital has apologised and launched a full investigation after managers say five women learned that their babies had not been properly cremated and buried. But the hospital says it will not specifically inform the other 81 women of the babies involved because it does not want them to suffer from any “distress.”
The London Daily Mail has the full scoop on what’s going on at this hospital:
Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust blamed an administrative error and said only five women will be contacted – because records indicate they would want to be informed.
The other 81 women will not be contacted in order to avoid ‘widespread distress’.
The storage of fetal remains were revealed under a Freedom of Information request by Channel 4 Dispatches.
The show, presented by Amanda Holden, investigates the treatment of couples whose pregnancies end in failure.
Around 700 foetal remains are kept at Walsall Manor Hospital every year until the appropriate paperwork has been completed.
They are usually stored in the hospital’s mortuary for between one and three months and then in the vast majority of occasions they are sent to be cremated.
But an error in getting documents signed off led to the remains in the 86 cases being kept for up to four years.
Two of the 86 cases date back to 2010, with another two in 2011, a total of 30 in 2012 and then 52 up to December 2013.
In 73 cases they belonged to foetuses under 12-weeks-old with with the remaining 13 being under 21 weeks.