FOI request raises questions about child's death

A father-of-seven is to exhume body parts of his baby daughter 30 years after she died, but only two years after he buried the same parts.

Donal Murphy, from Knocknaheeny in Ireland, wants to have the parts of his daughter Sharon independently tested to find out how she died. Through a Freedom of Information request, Mr Murphy received the file on Sharon’s treatment up to her death, at just seven months, in St Finbarr’s Hospital, Cork, in 1976.

The family was told that Sharon died from convulsions from viral pneumonia, but documents obtained through FOI showed that a finding of “sudden infant cot death” was scribbled out and replaced with bronchitis. Mr Murphy was told at the time of her death that a post mortem examination would be carried out. In 2004, it emerged that hospital authorities had taken tissue samples from Sharon’s body without her parents’ consent and her brain was incinerated.

Mr Murphy said: “We hope that, by having the parts exhumed and tested, we will finally be told the truth about how our daughter died.”

Father wins right to exhume baby’s body parts (Irish Examiner, 30 October 2006)