Re: [Histonet] Fetal Remains

From:"Jackie M O'Connor"

In my experience, for any products of conception, it is customary and the 
responsibility of the 'generating' department, i.e., nursing floor, ER, 
OB, OR - to obtain a waiver/release or other documentation allowing the 
hospital to dispose of fetal remains OR surgically obtained specimens. 
This goes for non-OB specimens as well.  I once had a motorcyclist ask for 
the bones from his severed toes (from a wreck) so he could make a 
necklace.  We said no - he signed the release. 
I worked in a hospital where the Mom changed her mind after a couple of 
weeks, and wanted to have a service for her fetus.  We did everything we 
could to find the already discarded specimen - even though she had signed 
the release, and we were not legally responsible to retrieve it.  We did 
find it, and were able to return it.  People need closure, sometimes.

Jackie O'

"Bell, Lynne" 
Sent by:
12/28/2004 12:23 PM

        Subject:        [Histonet] Fetal Remains

I am interested how other hospital handle and/or dispose of fetal
remains.  In particular, I am interested in "products of conception"
where there is an actual formed fetus.  How long do you retain this
specimen, how do you dispose of it, do you have the mother sign a
"release of remains".  In the state of Vermont, a fetal death is 20
weeks and over OR 400 grams and over and we require an autopsy permit
for this.  If it is smaller than 400 grams or less than 20 weeks, it is
considered a surgical specimen.


Of course, the reason I am asking is our hospital was recently sued for
disposing of a 200 gram fetus after following our Histology policy of
disposing of surgical specimens six weeks from accession date.  We are
naturally "gun-shy" at this point to even discard any "products of
conception".  Your wisdom and guidance will be truly appreciated.





Lynne A. Bell, HT (ASCP)

Central Vermont Hospital

P. O. Box 547

Barre, VT  05641



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