Parents campaigning for answers from Cork University Hospital (CUH) as to why organs were removed from their deceased infants at autopsy and sent for incineration without their consent have been told they will receive a report into the scandal by this Friday.
The parents are concerned the report will not explain why exactly the organs removed at autopsy from 18 babies were sent to Belgium for incineration with clinical hospital waste, as they have not been given a draft version of the report despite waiting over a year for its publication.
The parents received confirmation by email at 6.30pm last Friday from a senior member of management at CUH that “the review team are at a last stage of finalising the report and it is now expected that you will receive the final report by next Friday”.
Bereaved families mounted a protest outside CUH in June 2022 to highlight the delay in the publication of the report and they have been supported by several TDs, including Cork North Central Solidarity TD Mick Barry who raised the issue in the Dáil.
“This report must not be redacted to the point where it is practically worthless. These parents have been put through a horrific experience by the hospital and they deserve a report that reveals the truth, not one that covers it up,” Mr Barry told The Irish Times.
Speaking in the Dáil just last week, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said the CUH report on the organ incineration scandal at the hospital was being finalised and he had been assured by the health service that it would be shared with the families affected “within the next few weeks”.
“I understand the delay in the completion of this review has been very upsetting but it’s essential that correct processes are followed to ensure the facts of the case can be established and shared with the families affected,” he said.
“It’s very, very difficult to defend from any point of view quite frankly. I understand that the draft report is the final report, that they are essentially the same thing.”
A CUH spokesman would not be drawn on whether the report will be published this week or whether any of the report would be redacted, but he did issue a statement emphasising that CUH management wanted all families to receive the report as simultaneously as possible.
“It has always been the desire of CUH management that all the families impacted by this unfortunate incident would receive a copy of the report at or as close as possible to the same time. Once that date/time has been agreed, the full report will be shared with all the families concerned,” said CUH.