Families win body parts case

A judge has ruled in favour of the families of those whose organs have been removed without permission, saying they are due compensation.

The case has been brought against the NHS by more than 2,000 families, who claim their children’s organs were removed without consent.

The High Court today ruled in their favour, saying they could pursue compensation for the trauma they suffered.

But the judge only awarded compensation to only one of the parents in the three test cases. The mother of Laura Shorter was awarded £2,750.

Allegedly they have already refused £1,000, ahead of the launch of the case.

The families that brought the suit say the action has been taken as they want to demonstrate something illegal has taken place.

At the opening of the case Richard Lissack QC, representing the 2,140 families, emphasised that it was not designed to demonise the medical profession, but about righting a “great wrong”.

“It was the common practice of the medical profession to remove, retain, use for a variety of medical purposes, then either keep in store or dispose of organs from the dead,” said Mr Lissack.

“In itself that practice is not necessarily objectionable, save where it offended an individual’s religious beliefs or moral values.”

He said that what was objectionable was when this is done “without the knowledge, let alone the agreement of the relatives”.

The claimants counsel argued: “We submit that the practice was objectionable on three levels – morally, ethically and legally.”

But counsel for the plaintiff, Sally Smith QC, said it should not be thought that the NHS forgot or sought to minimise the “terrible human tragedies” which are behind the claims.