Amputees demand their legs back from hospital

June 17, 2010 | by | 0 Comments

Two amputees are outraged after surgeons threw away – their old LEGS.

Bob Brownlow, 53, and Gareth Ferrin, 31, both wanted to have their amputated limbs embalmed and buried with them when they die.

But the pair were shocked when surgeons incinerated the body parts despite requests for them to be kept.

They have now called for a change in the law following the incidents at the Leicester Royal Infirmary.

Bob had his right leg amputated in January 2008 after he developed an infection following a knee replacement operation.

Former soldier Bob, from Loughborough, Leics., said: ”Before the amputation, I asked the surgeon if I could keep the leg and have it preserved in some way.

”But I was told it was clinical waste and that it would be disposed of. I wasn’t too happy about it but you don’t really feel you can argue with them.

”It was dropped into a yellow waste sack with all the other swabs and sent off to be burned.

”That leg had been mine for more than 50 years and I don’t understand why I couldn’t keep it.

”It’s part of me and, though people might think it strange, I wanted to be buried with it as a complete person.”

Bob, who has two step-children, contacted Gareth who is angry that both his legs were discarded when they were removed in January 2005.

The pair claimed that their legs had been stolen by the surgeons and set about complaining to the hospital.

Spina bifida sufferer Gareth, also from Loughborough, said: ”When you go to the dentist and have teeth taken out, you can keep them.

”When you have your appendix removed, you can keep it – so why can’t you keep your legs?

”They’re mine, after all. I spoke to the registrar, the nurses and even the anaesthetist. I told them all that I wanted to keep the legs.

”But when I asked the surgeon, he said they wouldn’t give them back, and wouldn’t pay to have them embalmed.

”I’d have happily paid for that myself but I was never given the chance.”

A spokeswoman for University Hospital of Leicester NHS Trust declined to comment on their individual cases.

She said: ”It is very rare for a patient to ask to keep a body part following its removal. We would deal with each request on an individual basis.

”If a limb contained diseased or infected tissue it could not be returned to its owner because it could pose a public health risk.”

The Human Tissue Authority is the Government’s watchdog which oversees body part research and transplants.

Spokesman Andy Keast-Marriott (corr) said: ”I can’t say we have heard of amputees wanting to keep a limb.

”There’s nothing within the Human Tissue Act (2004) which says who has the right [to decide what happens to an amputated limb].

”If it is a diseased limb one would imagine a hospital would be right to dispose of it on public health grounds, and why would a limb be removed if it was not infected in some way?”

Darren Conway, a medical solicitor with Leicester law firm Freeth Cartwright, added: ”It’s a fascinating issue. Who owns your limb if it is removed?”

Tags: ,

Category: News

Add your comment

Libellous and abusive comments are not allowed. Please read our House Rules

For information about privacy and cookies please read our Privacy Policy