Irish academics were using the “unclaimed bodies” of deceased children from mother and baby homes to train students in anatomy right up until 1965, according to The Irish Independent.
The bodies of 474 infants were used between 1940 and 1965 for the “study of the anatomy and the structure of the human body” by staff and students at Trinity, as well as UCD, NUIG and the Royal College of Surgeon.
The practice came to an end following a public campaign by anatomical staff in the mid-60s to move towards a system of public donation. Since then no body can be donated without the expressed consent of either the deceased individual or their next of kin.
Commenting on the story, the anatomical committee of Irish medical schools insisted: “The practice of transferring remains from institutional settings to anatomy departments was in accordance with the Anatomy Act of 1832. Practices have long been in place to ensure absolute procedural sensitivity towards donors and families.”
The Department of Health had previously stated that the practise would be examined by a cross-departmental review due to report early this week but, at the time of writing, the Department’s website contained no new information or updates on the scandal.
All four universities in question have established hotlines for people wishing to enquire about the remains of deceased family members.
Trinity College, Dublin – Telephone: 01 896 4577 / E-Mail: [email protected]
NUI Galway – Telephone: 091 49 3361 / E-Mail: [email protected]
Royal College of Surgeons – Telephone: 01 402 2260 / E-Mail: [email protected]
UCD – Telephone: 01 716 6617