A mum was distraught to learn her terminally ill son’s brain was removed without her knowledge after he died at home.
June Bayley, 61, buried her 12-year-old son Ben Mallia in 1997 after he contracted bilateral bronchopneumonia while fighting a rare brain condition.
She said she was unaware that her son’s brain had been taken out during an autopsy at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge until 18 months after his death.
In the months following his death, June had suffered distressing nightmares, which eventually prompted her to seek out his autopsy report in 1999, Mirror Online reports.
The mum was shocked to learn Ben's brain had been removed post mortem and was sitting in a lab without her knowledge.
At the time, laws said organs could only be taken out if there was “no reason to believe” relatives would object.
She said: "He was suffering so much alive, I told Ben's doctors that no one is touching him when he died.
"You can't desecrate a body like this, there's proper protocols.”
His brain was finally returned in 2001 and was buried alongside Ben in Bury St Edmonds, where it was blessed by a priest.
A reference in the report claiming Ben’s spinal cord had been removed continued to bug June, despite the hospital telling her it was a typographical error.
June did not to pursue the error until she was diagnosed with PTSD earlier this year, and has now decided to find out "what really had happened" to her son.
She said: "In order to go forward you have to go back.
"So I decided I had to find out what had really happened."
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June once again contacted Cambridge University Hospital Trust and discovered a report written following Ben's death – which she demanded to see.
The report didn't just mention Ben's brain, but contained references to other organs being removed.
In a statement to Mirror Online the trust said a number of slides containing traces from Ben's lungs, liver and pancreas were returned along with his brain.
June said she didn't look in the box back in 2001, but doesn't trust the slides had been returned and now plans to exhume her son's body and him to find out if they were returned.
She said: "They hadn't told me about them, I just knew his brain was in there.
"I will have it exhumed. I need to know the truth. If they returned the slides, the glass will still be in the box and I will know for sure."
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In a statement to Mirror Online, the trust's medical director, Dr Ashley Shaw, said: "We have had two meetings during the last two months with Ms Bayley, and were able to talk through the same information that had been provided by the Trust in 2001, at the time of the National Organ Retention Enquiry.
"As previously stated, the only organ retained after her son’s post mortem here, was the brain.
"This was returned to Ms Bayley in 2001 via funeral directors, together with all the paperwork relating to this case, and a number of slides containing tiny pieces of tissue from the lung, liver and pancreas used for microscopic examination at the time of the post mortem.
"For the avoidance of any doubt, nothing else was removed or retained and nothing has changed since our correspondence with her lawyers in 2001.
"Ms Bayley has our continued sympathies for her devastating loss."
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