Thursday, June 14, 2012 |
If you read a newspaper in Ontario this morning, you may have noticed an ad from the province's Forensic Pathology Service. The ad reads: "Did the Loss of a Family Member Before June 14, 2010, Result in a Coroner's Investigation and Autopsy?"
For decades, Ontario's coroners kept the organs retained from autopsies. And in many cases, the families were never informed that the organs had been removed. Now, the coroner is trying to track down those family members so that they can properly dispose of the remains.
The coroners have approximately four thousand organs in storage, some of which have been stored since the nineteen-seventies.
Dr. Michael Pollanen is Ontario's Chief Forensic Pathologist. We reached him in Toronto.
William Blair can sympathize with the families about to learn of their relative's organ removal. In 2005, his son James was stabbed to death in a fight. His son's brain was removed during his autopsy but his family was never informed. And they didn't find out until more than three years after James's death.
We spoke with Mr. Blair back in 2008, shortly after he'd learned the full details of his son's autopsy.
And we reached him again today in London, Ontario.