January 28, 2008

Class Action Lawsuit Over Braaaains

Given the nature of the topic, the title is in very poor taste, but this is doubleplusundead, and the zombie reference writes itself.  There is a class action lawsuit being pursued by an Ohio family, their son died after having a seizure and swerving into a pond. The local coroner had removed his brain for tests to determine what exactly caused his death, and it was never returned.

I couldn't resist....

The suit names all but one county in Ohio.  It argues that the next of kin should be the final word on what happens to organs that undergo examination, and by the state assuming control, it is a violation of the constitutional right to due process. 

I'm assuming that a will would override that, but the article doesn't say.  There have been other lawsuits arguing similar cases which have been successful, about $6 million has been given to families in settlements already, and I'm guessing we could see this pop up in other states as well, so this could be a huge thing by the time all the suits are filed.

Obviously, this is an emotional topic, and the National Association of Medical Examiners decides to approach the situation delicately...

"Human beings relate to the personhood and soul of other living human beings, but these qualities are extinguished at death," said the medical examiners' brief. "The real family interest is in the 'soul' of the deceased, if it continues in an afterlife, or in the memory of the 'soul', rather than to the dead carcass."

...masters of PR, I tell you.

The lawyer involved in the suit is known for pursuing these types of cases, the first big case he was involved in was in 1991, when he successfully sued a coroner who had harvested corneas from a widow's husband. 

He'll have a tough case this time, as the Ohio Assembly passed a law in reaction to past lawsuits, which declared all parts taken during an autopsy were to be considered medical waste and disposed.

Posted by: doubleplusundead at 02:42 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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