Scientists comment on procedures put in place as a result of the Redfern Inquiry, which concluded that the removal of organs and tissues from workers at nuclear plants should not have happened.
Professor Peter Furness, President of the Royal College of Pathologists, said:
“We believe that the work was undertaken in good faith, in the understanding that it was work with potential to benefit the population of the UK as a whole. The report acknowledges that it was not done in secret and it helped to improve radiation protection procedures. It took place many years ago, when today’s standards and procedures were not in place. Nevertheless, we fully acknowledge that post mortem tissue should not have been removed in this way. We deeply regret that that the discovery that tissue was removed without knowledge or consent has caused distress to the bereaved.”
Dr Shaun Griffin, Director of Communications and Public Affairs at the Human Tissue Authority, said:
“Any distress caused to families in the past is extremely regrettable. The public can be confident that with the regulatory system now in place, these events could not have taken place today. We hope that the families affected may take some comfort from this. Our standards ensure that consent is given before tissue and organs are removed and used for research, that the deceased are treated with dignity and respect, and that relatives’ wishes are respected.”