Judge Throws Out Lawsuits Against Harvard University
In a recent ruling at Suffolk Superior Court, Judge Kenneth W.
Salinger dismissed all lawsuits against Harvard Medical School concerning the alleged theft of body parts from its morgue.
The judge stated that the claims made by the families of donors failed to convincingly indicate that Harvard acted in bad faith or that it was accountable for the actions of its morgue manager.
Source: Youtube/WMUR 9
Plaintiffs Express Outrage and Vow to Appeal
Forty-seven close relatives of individuals who had donated their bodies to Harvard Medical School for educational purposes filed 12 lawsuits, alleging inadequate safeguarding of human remains.
This came after Cedric Lodge, the manager of the morgue, was arrested for stealing and selling body parts that were supposed to be cremated.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs expressed their intention to appeal the decision, angering some relatives of the donors who criticized Har vard for evading responsibility.
Scandal Uncovers Hidden World of Trading in Human Body Parts
The disturbing scandal uncovered a hidden world of trading in human skin, bones, and organs, casting doubt on the oversight of anatomical gifts programs at medical schools.
Individuals donate their bodies to Harvard's Anatomical Gift Program with the expectation that they will be utilized to educate medical students and occasionally for research purposes.
Subsequently, the bodies are to be cremated, with the option for the ashes to be returned to the family if desired.
BREAKING: Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Filed by Families Over Harvard Medical School Morgue Thefthttps://t.co/aujnYZb940
— The Harvard Crimson (@thecrimson) February 12, 2024
Source: The Harvard Crimson
Judge Ruling Highlights Legal Complexities and Immunity Clause
In response to Harvard's motion to dismiss the lawsuits, Judge Salinger pointed out that the school is shielded by an immunity clause in the Massachusetts version of the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act.
To overcome this immunity, the plaintiffs would need to demonstrate that Har vard had not acted in good faith regarding the handling of donated bodies, which the judge found they had not succeeded in doing.
Some of the plaintiffs' claims were deemed insufficient to prove lack of good faith by Salinger.
Plaintiffs’ Criticisms and Concerns Over Lack of Accountability
Despite the ruling, plaintiffs expressed outrage and disappointment, with some feeling that Har vard wasn't being held accountable for negligence.
They criticized Harvard for ignoring ongoing issues for years and expressed concerns about the prevention of similar incidents in the future.
Despite the legal outcome, many families impacted by the scandal continue to grapple with the distressing possibility of their loved ones' remains being mishandled.
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