CUMH organ controversy: Health Minister quizzed 

CUMH organ controversy: Health Minister quizzed 

Cork-couple Leona Bermingham and Glenn Callanan spoke about their heartbreak upon learning that the brain of their deceased baby son, Lee, was incinerated. Picture: Leona Bermingham

The Health Minister, Stephen Donnelly faced questions in the Dáil last night over the revelation that the organs of 18 babies that died at Cork University Maternity Hospital were sent for incineration to Belgium without the consent or knowledge of their parents.

Cork-couple Leona Bermingham and Glenn Callanan spoke on an RTÉ Investigates programme this week about their heartbreak upon learning that the brain of their deceased baby son, Lee, was incinerated in Antwerp instead of being buried or cremated.

Other families contacting solicitor 

Their solicitor Rachael Liston, of Liston Flavin - Medical Negligence Solicitors Ireland, said that since the programme aired, they have been contacted by some of the other families involved in relation to what has happened.

Sinn Féin TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire said he has also been contacted by families affected by the revelations made on the programme.

“The stories we heard are absolutely appalling. I have been contacted by the parents affected. Their perspective is that they are going to have to grieve a second time.”

Social Democrats TD for Cork South West Holly Cairns said the grieving families deserve answers.

Inhumane treatment 

“The loss of a baby is an unimaginable tragedy, but the inhumane treatment of their retained organs compounds that pain and trauma,” she added.

In the Dáil last night, the Health Minister was asked when families were first contacted on the issue, and what information they were given.

Mr Donnelly was unable to clarify what information was included in the HSE correspondence and said he would seek detail on this.

Three reviews are underway into the incident. 

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