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Friday, 16 February, 2001, 22:02 GMT
Inquiry call over 'incinerated' baby
View of hospital ward
The health trust has apologised to the baby's parents
A couple from Cardiff whose stillborn daughter was incinerated as clinical waste when they were told she would be buried or cremated are seeking an inquiry.

Lisa Jones was stillborn at the now-closed St David's Hospital Cardiff in 1983.

Her parents Rose and Philip, from Ely in the city, were told that her body would be released for cremation within a fortnight.

But the Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust has now admitted that Lisa's body was incinerated five weeks after the birth.

We found that totally unacceptable and wonder if there are other mothers and fathers thinking, like we did, that the hospital did the right thing

Philip Jones

Lisa's birth was induced after a scan showed she was anencephalic, a rare condition that prevents the top of the skull forming, and she would not survive.

The couple agreed for a post-mortem examination to be carried out provided she be given a burial or cremation afterwards.

They assumed they would be contacted over a burial - but this did not happen.

They were later told their baby had been "disposed of" or "incinerated" but they did not believe this could be true.

The couple decided to find out what had happened to their daughter's body last October - in the light of the Alder Hey scandal in Liverpool in which children's organs were retained with the parents' permission.

The Joneses - who now have four other children - decided to find out if their daughter's body had been kept as a specimen.

Hospital policy

After scouring hospital and crematorium and register officer archives without finding any record of Lisa's birth they finally met Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust representatives this week.

They were told when the hospital had not heard from the couple, staff had followed hospital policy at the time and incinerated the baby;s body.

Only a tissue sample from the placenta had been retained.

"We found that totally unacceptable and wonder if there are other mothers and fathers thinking, like we did, that the hospital did the right thing," said Mr Jones, 45.

"We want an inquiry," he said.

"And we think it would be nice to have a plaque, somewhere to put flowers down."

A spokeswoman for Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust explained that in 1983 it was normal practice for "foetal remains" to be incinerated, if alternative arrangements were not made.

The spokeswoman expressed their sympathy for Mr and Mrs Jones but insisted they had not misled the couple on this point.

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See also:

30 Jan 01 | Broadband
Police to probe Alder Hey
29 Jan 01 | Health
Organ scandal background
04 Jun 00 | Health
Probe into new baby organ scandal
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