RE: returning tissue blocks to relatives

From:Connie McManus <>

Oh for Pete's sake.  what benefit do people think they are going to get out
of this??   Has this idiocy hit the US yet??  I haven't heard anything on
the news and since i don't work in a hospital I wouldn't know the rules and
regs for them. 

Connie M.

At 08:40 AM 6/1/01 +0100, Richard Pitman wrote:
>I'm sure all my fellow histologists in the UK would agree that this is an
extremely silly situation.
>In one or two teaching hospitals over here, 'interesting' tissues and
organs were retained and placed in collections. 20  or more years ago,
relatives were not routinely consulted about this, it was assumed that the
PM consent form gave the hospital sufficient authority. Now this knowledge
has come, grudgingly, into the public domain, and in the current climate of
political correctness (can't think where we got that from .. ), idiocy
>Relatives are requesting tissue and organs are returned, so that these can
be interred with their loved ones, assuming a grave exists. Tissue and
organs has been interpreted as slides and blocks, as well as larger
specimens.  Cynics might suggest that some of these relatives are actually
looking large sums of cash, as 'compensation' for their 'grief'.
>No matter that pathologists were generally acting entirely within the law,
and that this material was taken for research and teaching, to the benefit
of all, possibly even the siblings of the deceased. The consequences of
this are far reaching. Morale amongst pathologists is now even lower, we
lab staff have wasted weeks searching 30 year old archives for records
which might or might not exist. Post mortem examinations as we knew them
may cease -  a good time for doing an undetected murder, I'd think. We have
had to endure departmental searches, and sign documents to state that we
haven't got human remains hidden in our lockers.
>I shouldn't be wasting my time typing this, I should be responding to the
e-mails I received today regarding patient queries. (The authorities have
actually encouraged people to phone in !)
>Richard Pitman FIBMS,
>Head MLSO,
>Dept of Histology, Cytology & Immunology,
>Worcester Royal Infirmary NHS Trust
Connie McManus
Veterinary Diagnostics Lab
Utah State University
Logan, UT

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