Notice from the National Chairperson of ISANDS – Sensitive Matter*
Dear Parents and  Families,

The long awaited National HSE Retained Organs Audit was made available on the HSE website and presented at a meeting Parent/Family Groups yesterday. The audit identifies numbers and management of post mortem practices, consent, organs retained, burial/cremation/disposal of organs, and other associated matters in 35 hospitals and 5 universities. These were validated to the satisfaction of the audit team, with one additional hospital being validated later in June 2009. The results with regard to Maternity hospitals and units is alarming reading and raises many questions for this charity and more importantly the families whose babies were born in these hospitals.

The National audit also highlighted issues to do with the Rotunda Hospital and a separate investigation/audit had to be carried out.

The following is a statement taken from the HSE website with regard to the Rotunda -

“The audit identified a number of issues at the Rotunda hospital, which required a separate investigation. This was undertaken on behalf of the HSE by a team chaired by Mr. Ian Carter, Chief Executive, St. James’s Hospital.

The Carter report found a range of issues at the hospital, which included weakness in consent policy and documentation, variations between the terms of the consent given by families and the post-mortems carried out, delays in carrying out examinations and delays in implementing family instructions for respectful burial of organs or tissues.  

The report found that the issues at the hospital arose from individual professional practice, poor post-mortem systems and processes and weak management and governance oversight” (taken from HSE website).


It really does not bear thinking about that parents and families will yet again have to face such sadness in the face of what happened in the past. The devastation that this has caused is limitless, it will be a very long time before trust can ever be considered. ISANDS have always tried to work with the hospitals to highlight and strengthen communications on both sides of the spectrum, what has happened now has left us feeling betrayed and our role shamefully abused. Since 1999 when this scandal broke in Ireland we supported thousands of parents and families in shock and deep felt sadness and will continue to do so for how ever long that is needed. We submitted a 400 page document which took three months to compile to the Dunne Inquiry, we were part of the Working Group for the Madden Report.  In both we held tightly to our beliefs that parents should be FULLY INFORMED IN THE CONSENT PROCESS, we opposed the concept of Authorisation as an alternative to Consent and made many valuable contributions to both documents to support good practice within the hospitals and beyond.  In 2007 we published our Guidelines for Professionals; the result of working alongside Professionals for 12 years and were very proud of and encouraged by the response to the publication. We are deeply saddened that such alarming information has now come to light in these reports and that we must now find a new way to navigate our way out as it is quite clear that the old way has not worked.

It is with great disappointment, anger and sadness that ISANDS discovers that the Rotunda Hospital has yet again caused untold damage, trauma and devastation by their lack of compliance since the Organ Scandal broke in 1999. Mr. Carters report identifies that in 138 post mortems carried out between 2000-2007 organs are retained and the parents/families are only now being notified of this.

There is no doubt that you will all need support, care and love to get through this, we are here to help if we can. You can call us on 01 8726996 or email us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and please use the Forum to discuss with other parents.

Ron Smith-Murphy
National Chairperson, ISANDS

(To view a PDF you will need Acrobat reader. Download Adobe Acrobat Reader)

National Audit of Organs currently retained in the state, published July 2009 Retained Organs Audit 2009 (.pdf - 573 KB) 

Look Back Review of Post Mortem Services, Rotunda Hospital (.pdf - 733 KB)  Carter Report, review of post mortem services at the Rotunda Hospital, published July 09

STATEMENT FROM THE MASTER OF THE ROTUNDA HOSPITAL (PDF)

The HSE enquiry line number is Freephone 1800 670 700
Available Thursday July 23rd from 2.30pm to Midnight Friday 24th July and Saturday 25th July from 10am to 6.30pm. The line will also operate next week, Monday to Friday, from 10am to 6.30pm

Rotunda Hospital Enquiry Line
Specific issues were found in the audit relating to post-mortem Practice at the Rotunda Hospital, Dublin from 2000 to 2007. The Rotunda Hospital has set up a dedicated Helpline for their patients, where information and support will be provided by a dedicated hospital team.

The Rotunda enquiry line number is 1 800 303 265.
Available Thursday July 23rd from 2pm to 11pm Friday 24th July from 10am to 11pm Saturday 25th July from 10am to 6.30pm
The line will also operate next week, Monday to Friday, from 10am to 6.30pm
Further information may be obtained on www.rotunda.ie