Aborted foetuses burned to heat hospitals

Hospitals in Britain have been burning aborted foetus in incinerators which help heat hospitals.

This revelation came after a programme on Channel 4 TV reported that 10 National Health Service (NHS) trusts had been burning foetuses as clinical waste.

British Health Minister Dan Poulter said this practice was "totally unacceptable", BBC reported.

He said: "That is why I have asked NHS medical director Bruce Keogh to write to all NHS hospital trusts to make it clear that the practice must stop now."

Britain's Human Tissue Authority has a code of practice for the disposal of human tissue, including foetal remains, that hospitals should follow.

Different options

It says that women who have had an abortion or miscarriage should be told that there are options available - burial, cremation and incineration.

It adds that disposal via incineration should be handled as "sensitive" and therefore should not be done alongside the burning of waste.

In his letter, Professor Keogh said he believed it would be better not to use incineration at all.

Sands, a England-based stillbirth and neonatal death charity, said the practice of incinerating foetuses less than 24 weeks old was unacceptable and that whenever possible, cremation should be used.

A Sands spokesman said: "Research has shown that the stage the pregnancy has reached when the baby dies is not an accurate predictor of the length and depth of the grief the parents will experience.

The death of a baby at any stage of pregnancy is a major bereavement with life-long consequences."

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