Irwin Mitchell Lawyers Contacted In Relation To Walsall Manor Hospital Retention Scandal

Medical Law Experts Say Families Deserve Answers About Why Foetuses Were Kept


Specialist lawyers at Irwin Mitchell have been approached by families informed recently that their unborn baby’s remains have been kept at Walsall Manor Hospital without permission.

It follows confirmation from managers within Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust that they have launched a full investigation into the ‘administrative errors’ that meant the remains of 86 unborn babies from miscarriages and abortions were kept at the hospital for up to four years, when they should have been cremated within months.

The news comes just weeks after five families instructed Irwin Mitchell to seek answers after their children’s organs had been kept in a Birmingham mortuary without their knowledge – and lawyers say this latest news raises questions on a wider scale.

Irwin Mitchell has received calls from concerned members of the public affected by the breaking news. It is understood that the story was made public before all of the patients concerned had been contacted.

Mandy Luckman, is a Partner and medical law expert at Irwin Mitchell’s Birmingham office.

Expert Opinion
This is hugely distressing for all concerned and is forcing families to relive horrific ordeals that they hoped they had laid to rest some time ago.

“We have been approached by individuals affected by this scandal. We understand that an apology has been offered, but the families affected, would like to know why foetuses have been kept without permission, whether any tests have been carried out without permission and confirmation that whatever systems failed that meant this scandal could happen have been rectified.

“They also deserve answers about why the hospital waited until it was public in the media to confirm the situation, launch an investigation and offer an apology. They deserve to know how long the Trust has known about the situation and that any failures are learned from and shared throughout the NHS to ensure no other hospital can find itself in the same position.”

“This news comes only weeks after we were instructed by five concerned families in the Birmingham region who had learnt their children’s organs and tissue samples had been kept at a mortuary without their permission for up to 15 years.

“Until a Public Inquiry in 1999, the general public was unaware that Alder Hey and other hospitals within the NHS were retaining organs and tissue samples without family consent. Under no circumstances should any part of the anatomy of a deceased baby or adult be kept without permission of their family.

“The situations in both Birmingham and Walsall raise questions about the practices of hospitals and mortuaries throughout the UK in respectfully and legally treating the deceased and we hope these cases lead to further investigations nationwide to ensure protocol is being followed.”
Mandy Luckman, Partner

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise relating to medical negligence claims.