returning tissue blocks to relatives

From:"Brownhill Alan (RQ3) BCH" <Alan.Brownhill@BHAMCHILDRENS.WMIDS.NHS.UK>

All of the various issues which created the current PM organ/tissue
situation in the UK are too complex to go into here but the crucial point
concerns the lack of informed consent prior to the PM being carried out.
This has mainly related to perinatal/paediatric PMs. In the past many
parents were unaware that organs/tissues would be retained after the PM and
the reaction of some but not all of these parents has been to demand the
return of all PM material to be buried or cremated.

The new consent form allows for either the retention, disposal or return of
tissues/organs after PM. When the value of retaining this material has been
explained to parents, in many cases they are more than willing to allow
organs/tissues to be kept.

There has been a lot of media hype and also a lot of genuine parental
distress over this issue but I am sure that eventually things will settle
down. However, the question of consent for the use of both PM and surgical
specimens for research is causing a great deal of discussion in medical
circles over here.

Alan Brownhill
Birmingham Children's Hosp.

Birmingham Children's Hospital NHS Trust

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