Springfield MA-based Hospital Sued for Autopsy, Organ Removal Without Consent

CHARGE Syndrome Foundation

CHARGE Syndrome Foundation

A Springfield-based hospital, along with four of its doctors, were sued by a couple who alleged their late daughter’s organs were removed without their consent. The medical malpractice lawsuit was filed March 26 in Hampden Superior Court, according to a Sunday, July 11, 2010 Boston Herald report.

Reports indicated 7-month-old Kaylee Marie Drolet died March 31, 2007 after struggling with CHARGE syndrome for the majority of her short life.

According to the CHARGE Syndrome Foundation, “The letters in CHARGE stand for: Coloboma of the eye, Heart defects, Atresia of the choanae, Retardation of growth and/or development, Genital and/or urinary abnormalities, and Ear abnormalities and deafness. Those features are no longer used in making a diagnosis of CHARGE syndrome, but we’re not changing the name.”

The lawsuit contended doctors at Baystate Medical Center (BMC) performed an autopsy, removing several organs, without the required consent of next of kin. “Her heart is somewhere else. Her body is somewhere else. It’s really messed up and really cruel,” said 24-year-old Matthew Drolet, Kaylee’s father.

Kaylee’s mother, 26-year-old Samantha Martino, claims a Baystate doctor sought consent for the autopsy minutes after her daughter’s death. However, Martino maintains she told the doctor to come back later with regard to the matter. The doctor reportedly did not return.

The devastated parents only found out about the incident when their funeral director called them, informing them that Kaylee was missing organs.

Baystate spokesperson Jane Albert alleged the autopsy was performed only after obtaining adequate consent, via the phone. Albert noted there were two Baystate employees on the phone when Martino allegedly gave verbal consent to the autopsy and organ removal. “The hospital’s policy for autopsies is consistent with Massachusetts rules and regulations and does include phone consent,” Albert added.

While Baystate contested the claims, Drolet and Martino, both of Chicopee, are seeking unspecified damages for “pain, suffering, and emotional distress.” Baystate and four unnamed doctors were named as defendants in the suit.

The case continues.

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