A terminally ill mother is given the remains of her baby after 48 years
A terminally ill mother has finally been given the remains of her baby boy, 48 years after his death.
Lydia Reid’s son Gary died in 1975 at just one week old.
She believed she had buried his body, but became suspicious when she later learned his organs had been removed for research.
Lydia, who lives in Edinburgh, had his coffin exhumed five years ago and no human remains were found inside, a BBC report revealed.
The Crown Office has now allowed the organs and other body parts stored at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary to be handed over to Gary’s mother.
However, it said an investigation found no evidence of criminality or illegal organ storage in the case.
Lydia, who has colon cancer, said she was “thrilled” that she could finally put her son to rest and give him a respectful funeral before she dies.
She told BBC Scotland: “The pain was excruciating. Now I can bury him before I die, I feel great relief.’
Lydia was a leading figure in a campaign to expose how hospitals in Scotland kept body parts of dead children for research.
Around 6,000 organs and tissues were preserved in Scottish hospitals between 1970 and 2000, many of them from children.
NHS Scotland had to authorize the practice after a public inquiry into organ storage at Liverpool’s Alder Hey Hospital in 1999.
Lydia said when she asked to see her son’s body a few days after his death, she was shown another baby.
She later learned that her son’s organs had been removed and kept at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. She said pieces were being shaved off for microscope testing without her permission.
In September 2017 a court order was issued to exhume Gary’s coffin from its place in Saughton Cemetery in Edinburgh.
A scarf, hat, cross and name tag were found buried along with the crumbling coffin, but no human remains, Lydia explained.
A forensic anthropologist concluded that the coffin never contained human remains.
In 2022, Lydia went on a hunger strike and camped outside the Crown Office in Edinburgh to learn what had happened to her son and return his remains.
She said they refused to cooperate, citing “stupid reasons,” but she kept fighting until it was finally agreed that Gary’s remains would be returned.
Gary was born with Rhesus disease, a condition in which antibodies in a pregnant woman’s blood destroy her baby’s blood cells.
Lydia had two other sons, and one, Steven, was born with the same condition but received a blood transfusion and survived.
But, she said, doctors performed an “experimental procedure” on Gary that left him brain damaged.
Sadly, she lost a son, Bruce, to cancer in 2006 but hopes Steven will continue her campaign after her death.
Lydia is currently in a hospital, but plans to do a self-examination for a day in order to attend Gary’s funeral.
Lindsey Miller, Deputy Crown Agent at the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), told the BBC that a full and thorough multi-agency investigation had been carried out into the case.
She said no “crime or evidence of unlawful organ storage had been identified.”
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https://metro.co.uk/2023/03/17/terminally-ill-mum-has-babys-remains-returned-to-her-after-48-years-18463995/ A terminally ill mother is given the remains of her baby after 48 years