British hospitals incinerated the bodies of thousands of aborted and miscarried babies as clinical waste, with some used to heat hospitals as part of an energy efficiency programs, the Telegraph reports.
Ten hospitals of the National Health Service, the UK’s prized single-payer system, have admitted to burning fetal bodies with other medical waste. Another two NHS hospitals which housed “waste-to-energy” plants, which generate heat while eliminating so-called medical waste.
Addenbrooke hospital in Cambridge, England hosted a waste-to-energy plant where officials incinerated the bodies of 797 babies, while telling their mothers that the bodies would be “cremated.”
Ipswich Hospital, an NHS facility whose waste-to-energy plant was run by a private contractor, burnt 1,101 fetal bodies between 2011 and 2013, after bringing in bodies from another hospital to provide more energy for the plant. A spokeswoman for the hospital denied that the NHS facility was incinerating fetal remains and was “concerned” that another bodies from another hospital had been incinerated in its waste-to-energy plant.
The investigation by British Channel 4 found that Addenbrooke’s stance was typical of the British health care system as a whole, where parents were typically not informed about how their children’s remains were being disposed.
One woman, Cathryn Hurley, found out in a British hospital her child had died at eight weeks, but the NHS trust refused to release her child’s remains to her.
“I was hysterical, I was crying. I asked one of the nurses what would happen to my baby, and she just said — well, it will be incinerated with the rest of the day’s waste,” Hurley said, according to the Daily Mail. “That was really difficult to hear because to me it wasn’t waste, it was my baby.”
Over the past two years, 27 NHS trusts, public hospital systems run by the British government, have incinerated at least 15,500 bodies of aborted or miscarried babies.
British bureaucrats began scrambling to mitigate the damage Sunday night upon first learning of the investigation. Britain’s Department of Health, which administers the National Health Service, banned the practice and health minister Dan Poulter said the practice is “totally unacceptable.”
“While the vast majority of hospitals are acting in the appropriate way, that must be the case for all hospitals and the Human Tissue Authority has now been asked to ensure that it acts on this issue without delay,” Poulter said.
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