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  1. #1
    jtjohnson Guest

    miscarriage remains

    What is the name of your state? Minnesota
    HI, This may seem like a weird question, but I need to know who is right. I had a miscarriage a while ago, and had to go the hospital for a d&c. I have called the Pathology dept. at the hospital to see if I could get the remains for burial. I was told most of the remains were submitted for examination, and saved in paraffin blocks and slides, while the rest was incinerated as medical waste. The pathologist said there were no "grossly identifiable fetal parts" found, so it wasn't sent for burial. But after a d&c, I don't think much would be identifiable(not to be too graphic). MN has a law that fetal remains must be buried or cremated respectfully. So, were they within the law to incinerate the rest of the remains without examining them microscopically to look for fetal tissue? They have no written document stating exactly what was done with all of the remains. Is that legal/ethical?
    And secondly, after bothering the pathologist enough, he agreed to release the paraffin blocks of tissue to me that they have saved from the path exam for burial, but refused to release the slides of the miscarriage remains that they have. Who exactly do the fetal remains belong to after the hospital procedure and pathology exam? He says legally I have no right to the slides, that they keep them for 25 years, yet he willingly will release the rest of the remains to me. What is the deal here? All I want is what belonged to me in the first place, so I can put closure on this. Don't I have the right to all the remains(they are generally labeled 'products of conception' in the path report) should I want them?
  2. #2
    ellencee is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Posts
    4,334
    I understand your wish for closure and I believe you should speak with your OB/GYN physician or midwife or Nurse Practioner, whichever you have as your treating OB/GYN. Tell this professional about your concerns. I believe some grief counseling is in order and can be of great benefit to you.

    When you suffered the miscarriage, the fetal material was most likely completely discharged. What remained was placental tissue and the increased endometrial tissue, also considered part of the products of conception. Even if part of the actual fetal tissue remained until the d&c, it would be nearly impossible to differentiate the minute fetal tissues from the placental and endometrial tissue (uterus lining), as it is all collected through the same instrument and into the same container.

    The hospital and its employees acted appropriately. The pathologist is going beyond the norm in providing you with the parafin blocks. You can not force him to give you the slides for burial, nor should you.

    I suppose you could have instructed the physician to give all of the products of the d&c to you for burial (except for the pathology needs); but, you would have needed to provide these instructions before the procedure. Otherwise, the physician would have no way of knowing that you wanted to bury everything possible. I assure you, most people do not want to have these products for burial unless the fetus is well developed and not in the earliest stage of development.

    I imagine the law (to which you referred) is intended to prevent abortion clinics from improperly disposing of fetal remains.

    To find closure, you need to accept that all was done as it should have been done and that you have done all you can do to provide a proper burial for the remains.

    If your grief does not lessen in the next few weeks, please consult with a counselor or pastor.

    Best wishes and deepest sympathy for your loss,
    EC
  3. #3
    hmmbrdzz Guest

    Re: miscarriage remains

    Originally posted by jtjohnson
    What is the name of your state? Minnesota
    HI, This may seem like a weird question, but I need to know who is right. I had a miscarriage a while ago, and had to go the hospital for a d&c. I have called the Pathology dept. at the hospital to see if I could get the remains for burial. I was told most of the remains were submitted for examination, and saved in paraffin blocks and slides, while the rest was incinerated as medical waste. The pathologist said there were no "grossly identifiable fetal parts" found, so it wasn't sent for burial. But after a d&c, I don't think much would be identifiable(not to be too graphic). MN has a law that fetal remains must be buried or cremated respectfully. So, were they within the law to incinerate the rest of the remains without examining them microscopically to look for fetal tissue? They have no written document stating exactly what was done with all of the remains. Is that legal/ethical?
    And secondly, after bothering the pathologist enough, he agreed to release the paraffin blocks of tissue to me that they have saved from the path exam for burial, but refused to release the slides of the miscarriage remains that they have. Who exactly do the fetal remains belong to after the hospital procedure and pathology exam? He says legally I have no right to the slides, that they keep them for 25 years, yet he willingly will release the rest of the remains to me. What is the deal here? All I want is what belonged to me in the first place, so I can put closure on this. Don't I have the right to all the remains(they are generally labeled 'products of conception' in the path report) should I want them?

    Hi JT Johnson: I'm sorry about your miscarriage and what
    you're going through with respect to your desires to have
    the fetal remains. Because this issue is being pressed
    (rights to fetal remains), some hospitals and birthing centers
    in some states have, or are in the process of developing
    special policies and procedures related to this issue.

    I found a few sites that may help you some. Best of luck
    to you. Hang in there.

    [url]http://www.bidmc.harvard.edu/health_information/fact_sheets/topic_display.asp?topic=MC0211[/url]

    [url]http://hometown.aol.com/mmorri7826/cecelia.html[/url]

    [url]http://members.aol.com/mum2anangel/dsangelpress.html[/url]


    hmmbrdzz
    Last edited by hmmbrdzz; 03-25-2003 at 05:56 AM.

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