Covid cannot be used as excuse for total system failure in CUMH

28 September 2021

Labour health spokesperson Duncan Smith said the clear lack of communication and consultation with families at the centre of the CUMH inquiry points to a larger systems failure within the health service. Speaking today Deputy Smith said that these bereaved families deserve to understand what led to these decisions being made without their consent.

Deputy Smith said:

“What’s being reported about the Cork University Maternity Hospital is totally shocking. It is a total system failure. I can’t begin to imagine the shock and horror that these families experienced when they received phone calls to say that the remains of their child were incinerated abroad. This should have been dealt with in a sensitive and compassionate manner in communication and consultation with the families involved.

“While we await the outcome of the official investigation into the events surrounding this, the excuse that this is a Covid related matter simply does not hold water. Reports show that there were incidents of this practice occurring as far back as November 2019 – long before the pandemic. It’s also worth noting that Michaela Willis’ Retained Organs Audit from 2009 recommended that the practice of incinerating organs should end within 6 months. This was over a decade ago. How could this practice still be happening in 2021?

“We need to understand the system failures that led to this scandal happening and we need a guarantee from the Minister that this practice is banned entirely across the health service. There’s an awful lot of hurt experienced by families now. They need and deserve proper answers to understand how this could have happened.”

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