An English woman is demanding answers after her late mother’s body was handed over “like a piece of meat” to a medical school without her family’s consent — sparking a police investigation, Mirror Online reports.
Gwenda Higgins, who was in her eighties, died in hospital in February this year after suffering a stroke, and had been living with dementia.
According to the publication, Nicola Wing, 55, found out shortly after her mother’s death that her body had been donated to science. Higgins had reportedly been taken to Norwich Medical School, on the University of East Anglia (UEA) campus.
“It was just a gut instinct that it was not right,” the daughter told the Mirror Online.
She said she grew suspicious after discovering that the consent forms had been signed while her mother was in a coma, just two days before she passed away.
Nicola is now demanding answers over what happened to her mother, having also found out that Gwenda’s body was cremated at the medical school without her family present.
“It’s like she has been treated like a piece of meat. I just want my mum’s ashes,” she added.
However, Professor William Fraser, head of Norwich Medical School, told the Mirror Online that, as a criminal investigation is taking place, the medical school is holding the ashes, adding: “We acted in line with her request on the forms provided to us.”
Meanwhile, an Essex spokesman told the publication investigations are continuing, with an 86-year-old man having been interviewed “under caution” in relation to the incident.
According to NSW Health, a person who wants to donate their body must provide consent for the donation in writing before their death. Alternatively, the person’s closest living relative is able to provide consent in writing after death, the department explained on their website, adding: “provided that they are not aware that the person would have objected.”