Police Keep Baby’s Brain, Mother In Shock
A mother whose two-day-old baby boy, Rhys, died of a heart defect has been informed by officers that her son’s brain was kept in storage for almost 13 years.
Hannah Cheevers, 34, said that two police officers came to her residence “totally out of the blue” to admit that Rhys’ brain had been stored at Southampton General Hospital in the United Kingdom.
Cheevers’ son died in 1998, and her family gave consent for a post-mortem analysis to take place, but they “assumed he had been buried intact.”
According to The Independent, Cheevers said, “We had his funeral, we got on with our lives as you have to and 13 years later we have a knock on the door from the Dorset police to inform us that his brain has been retained at Southampton hospital.”
Ms. Cheever said she was in shock and “did not know really how to take it.”
“We had absolutely no idea that they had kept his brain.”
Officers told her that Rhys’ brain was kept in storage untouched, but we’re unable to tell her why.
The family has decided to donate the baby boy’s brain to hospital research after being given options to either have it destroyed or bury it with his body.
“I didn’t want another funeral. I’ve got other children now. It’s a difficult thing to talk about and I didn’t want to have to explain to my young children why we had to have a funeral … And, I didn’t really want him dug up to have his brain put with him. I just don’t like the thought of having a child dug up after they have been buried for 13 years,” Cheever said.
A national audit conducted last year also revealed that police kept nearly 500 body parts, some of which dated back 50 years.