Mother's questions could be answered

By Liz HearnshawA DESPERATE mother battling to discover if her son's vital organs were removed after his death has been offered a glimmer of hope that her long-running fight for answers could soon come to an end.

By Liz Hearnshaw

A DESPERATE mother battling to discover if her son's vital organs were removed after his death has been offered a glimmer of hope that her long-running fight for answers could soon come to an end.

June Pyne, who claimed her 12-year-old Ben Mallia's brain and spinal cord were removed without her permission, now thinks compensation previously unavailable to her may be released by new evidence.

Mrs Pyne, who lives in Hargrave, near Bury St Edmunds, was told by the High Court last week she would not be eligible for compensation as her son had been subject of a coroner's post-mortem examination.


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Mr Justice Gage ruled that only the families of children who had undergone a hospital post-mortem examination would receive payment.

But Mrs Pyne said she may be eligible for compensation if it could be proved that Ben's organs were used for research. She claimed to have such proof in the form of an autopsy report.

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"I have it written in black and white on an autopsy report, which says Ben's brain and spinal cord were submitted for further neurological tests," she added.

"In September 1998, which was 13 months after my son died, a second pathologist came along and examined the organs. They said they would put them back into Ben, but he had been buried a year before."

Mrs Pyne added: "This has really hit me. I am looking into getting counselling as I am not sleeping at all. I just can't believe they have done this to Ben.

"I am prepared to keep fighting. I would urge any other parents whose children have been subject of a coroner's post-mortem not to give up.

"If you are doing it for the money, then do give up, but if it is for the truth, carry on fighting. Money will not bring anybody back."

Mrs Pyne's son died in 1997 of a rare brain disease known as DRPLA. Bosses at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge later admitted the youngster's brain had been removed after his death for research, but said no other organs had been taken.

But Mrs Pyne claimed a post-mortem examination report stated Ben's spinal cord had been removed from his body - although the hospital said it had not been taken and a typing error had been responsible for giving that impression.

liz.hearnshaw@eadt.co.uk

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