Bodies of 350 still-born babies found in Paris

3rd August 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Aug 2 (AFP) - French health authorities announced an investigation on Tuesday into how 350 still-born babies and foetuses were stored for up to 20 years in a Paris hospital mortuary in violation of health laws.

PARIS, Aug 2 (AFP) - French health authorities announced an investigation on Tuesday into how 350 still-born babies and foetuses were stored for up to 20 years in a Paris hospital mortuary in violation of health laws.

Of the 351 foetuses found at the Saint-Vincent-de-Paul hospital some had been preserved since 1985, the secretary-general of the Paris public hospitals authority, Jean-Marc Boulanger, told reporters Tuesday.

The bodies were of infants that were still-born or died soon after birth and had not been claimed by their parents.

They were preserved in formalin in plastic containers and stored in a hospital cold room and in two wings of the mortuary, Boulanger said.

"These bags were marked, inventoried and clearly identified in the registers," he said, adding that the situation was "unacceptable".

Hospital administrators made the discovery after a family asked about what had happened to a foetus.

Asked if there were any suspicious circumstances, Boulanger said "things have not been clearly organised, it's more like a slip-up".

Health Minister Xavier Bertrand said he was shocked and outraged after being told about the discovery on Monday.

"The Paris public hospitals authority told me yesterday afternoon about the discovery of a large number of foetuses and still-born babies being kept in illegal conditions in the mortuary of Saint Vincent de Paul Hospital," Bertrand said.

"A preliminary inquiry has been opened by the Paris prosecutor's office on this matter brought to our attention," he said.

Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe said on Tuesday he was "deeply shocked" by the discovery.

"I expect the inquiries under way will reveal the serious breakdowns which have led to a situation that is as surreal as it is illegal," he said in a statement.

The French health minister said that an administrative investigation was also underway, and he was about to order an inspection of all France's hospitals to make sure the case was not being reproduced elsewhere.

Under French law, the bodies of unclaimed dead babies in hospitals must be cremated after 10 days.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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