Mum's organ removal vow

By Dave GooderhamA DESPERATE mother has vowed to continue her long-running fight to find out whether her son's vital organs were removed after his death without her permission.

By Dave Gooderham

A DESPERATE mother has vowed to continue her long-running fight to find out whether her son's vital organs were removed after his death without her permission.

June Pyne said she was even prepared to take the drastic step of having her 12-year-old son's body exhumed in an effort to learn what happened after he died.

Mrs Pyne, from Hargrave, made her pledge after the High Court in London ruled she was not eligible for compensation.


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

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

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Mrs Pyne was among 2,000 families from across the country who brought a High Court action against the NHS, claiming body parts of their loved ones had been removed without their consent.

Mr Justice Gage ruled on Friday the NHS had, in most cases, removed body parts without family consent.

His ruling paved the way for hundreds of families to seek compensation if their loved ones had undergone a hospital post-mortem examination - but it did not include the parents of children like Ben who had organs removed during coroner's court's post-mortem examination.

Mrs Pyne said: "When I heard the ruling, I just cried and cried and I was so angry. It is just another obstacle and though we have been told we will not get compensation, I will never give up.

"I will fight this as long as there is breath in my body. I would be prepared to get Ben's body exhumed as I have so many questions unanswered."

Mrs Pyne believed her son should never have had a post-mortem examination as he saw a GP less than two weeks before his death and had been diagnosed as terminally ill.

"It should have never have been a case for a coroner as if you see a GP less than 14 days before your death, you don't have to have an autopsy," she said.

"A post mortem is required if you die suddenly, but how can this happen when you are terminally ill?"

A spokesman for Addenbrooke's Hospital said there had been a mistake on the post-mortem report, but no other organs had been removed from Ben.

He added Mrs Pyne was within her rights to request an exhumation, but pointed out that was not something that the hospital would be involved with.

dave.gooderham@eadt.co.uk

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