Warwick mortuary blunder saw dead person's brain left in stomach of another corpse - The Leamington Observer

Warwick mortuary blunder saw dead person's brain left in stomach of another corpse

Laura Kearns 24th Jan, 2018   0

A MORTUARY blunder at Warwick Hospital saw a dead person’s brain left in the stomach of another corpse.

The error was spotted by an undertaker in 2014 and bosses say an investigation immediately took place.

It was one of nearly 300 serious incidents in morgues across the country between 2014 and 2016 and was uncovered following a freedom of information request by the BBC. The request also highlighted major mistakes at other hospitals – including damage to a corpse due to a ‘human error or system failure’, and a body part going missing – according to the Human Tissue Authority (HTA).

The mortuary service at Warwick Hospital is run by Coventry and Warwickshire Pathology Network, which operates under University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust (UHCW).

A UHCW spokeswoman said: “A full investigation was undertaken and the error which occurred in the mortuary of Warwick Hospital in March 2014 was rectified immediately.

“Coventry and Warwickshire Pathology Service remains compliant with all Human Tissue Authority regulations and continues to perform around 1,200 post-mortems a year. We have not had any other incident similar to this at UHCW since the Human Tissue Act came into being in 2004.”

In a post-mortem, body parts are put back, and the brain is often placed with the rest of the organs, into the stomach.

Body parts are only kept at the end of the investigation if the circumstances of the death are suspicious.

Chris Birkett, director of regulation for the HTA, said: “Incidents such as these are distressing for the families of those involved and, although they are rare, should never happen.

“If an incident does happen, we work with the establishment to ensure that a thorough investigation is undertaken, that lessons are learned, and that improvements are made to mitigate the risks of similar incidents happening again.”

Buy Photos

Buy photos online from the Leamington Observer newspaper.


Receive a weekly update to your inbox by signing up to our weekly newsletter.

Online Editions

Catch up on your local news by reading our e-editions on the Leamington Observer.


Weddings, Birthdays, Bereavements, Thank you notices, Marriages and more.