Baby's brain held at Southampton General Hospital for 13 years

Southampton General Hospital

Southampton General Hospital

First published in News
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A mother whose baby son died of a heart defect has told how police turned up at her house to tell her they had kept his brain in storage for 13 years.

Hannah Cheevers said two officers knocked on her door ''totally out of the blue'' to admit that Rhys' brain had been held at Southampton General Hospital.

The baby boy had died aged just two days in 1998 and his family gave consent for a post-mortem examination to take place but they ''assumed he had been buried in tact''.

She told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: ''We had his funeral, we got on with our lives as you have to and 13 years later we have a knock on the door from the Dorset police to inform us that his brain has been retained at Southampton hospital.''

Ms Cheevers said she was shocked and ''did not know really how to take it''.

''We assumed he had been buried in tact,'' she added. ''We had absolutely no idea that they had kept his brain.''

Police told her that Rhys' brain had been kept in storage untouched but could not tell her why.

Ms Cheevers said they have decided to donate his brain to hospital research after being told the other two options were to have it destroyed or buried with his body.

''I didn't want another funeral. I've got other children now. It's a difficult thing to talk about and I didn't want to have to explain to my young children why we had to have a funeral.

''And, I didn't really want him dug up to have his brain put with him. I just don't like the thought of having a child dug up after they have been buried for 13 years.''

It comes after an investigation found body parts from nearly 90 children were kept by police, often without informing parents.

Last year a national audit found police forces had kept almost 500 body parts dating back around 50 years.

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Comments (6)

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12:28pm Fri 22 Feb 13

wossit says...

I find this absolutely disgusting, what rights did they have to remove body parts without consent and to come round your house and drag up the past again. How Insensitive can these people be !!!
I find this absolutely disgusting, what rights did they have to remove body parts without consent and to come round your house and drag up the past again. How Insensitive can these people be !!! wossit
  • Score: 0

12:54pm Fri 22 Feb 13

-stiv- says...

wossit wrote:
I find this absolutely disgusting, what rights did they have to remove body parts without consent and to come round your house and drag up the past again. How Insensitive can these people be !!!
They did have consent.

The scandal is that they kept it for so long.

Very sad either way. Poor lady. All the best to her and her family.
[quote][p][bold]wossit[/bold] wrote: I find this absolutely disgusting, what rights did they have to remove body parts without consent and to come round your house and drag up the past again. How Insensitive can these people be !!![/p][/quote]They did have consent. The scandal is that they kept it for so long. Very sad either way. Poor lady. All the best to her and her family. -stiv-
  • Score: 0

3:08pm Fri 22 Feb 13

wossit says...

-stiv- wrote:
wossit wrote: I find this absolutely disgusting, what rights did they have to remove body parts without consent and to come round your house and drag up the past again. How Insensitive can these people be !!!
They did have consent. The scandal is that they kept it for so long. Very sad either way. Poor lady. All the best to her and her family.
No she gave consent for a post mortem, which normal means after the examination every is put back in its rightful place !!
[quote][p][bold]-stiv-[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]wossit[/bold] wrote: I find this absolutely disgusting, what rights did they have to remove body parts without consent and to come round your house and drag up the past again. How Insensitive can these people be !!![/p][/quote]They did have consent. The scandal is that they kept it for so long. Very sad either way. Poor lady. All the best to her and her family.[/p][/quote]No she gave consent for a post mortem, which normal means after the examination every is put back in its rightful place !! wossit
  • Score: 0

5:57pm Fri 22 Feb 13

cantthinkofone says...

Rather unfair to stick the hospital's picture on the story when the fault lies entirely with the police.
Rather unfair to stick the hospital's picture on the story when the fault lies entirely with the police. cantthinkofone
  • Score: 0

10:13pm Fri 22 Feb 13

hcheevers says...

we gave consent for a post mortem not for them to keep his brain
we gave consent for a post mortem not for them to keep his brain hcheevers
  • Score: 0

2:05pm Sat 23 Feb 13

cantthinkofone says...

hcheevers wrote:
we gave consent for a post mortem not for them to keep his brain
I hope you feel you have some closure now.

Your decision to donate Rhys' brain to research is wonderful by the way.
[quote][p][bold]hcheevers[/bold] wrote: we gave consent for a post mortem not for them to keep his brain[/p][/quote]I hope you feel you have some closure now. Your decision to donate Rhys' brain to research is wonderful by the way. cantthinkofone
  • Score: 0

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