Military tissue waste disposal

You may have heard news bulletins today of the retention of tissues from wounded and dead UK soldiers. No doubt someone had read of the US cases, and decided to follow suit.

I have no idea why this should surface now, and can only assume someone wanted to make waves. There is no other conceivable purpose. The Army chiefs have responded quickly to apologise and say that they will be contacting affected families to ask about their wishes for disposal.

I simply don’t understand. I have no idea where my appendix is, and have no care. And as to the whereabouts of my tonsils I just don’t know, save that I haven’t seen them for well over 50 years.

If they went out with the waste, so be it. If not and they sit, pickled and preserved, on some dusty shelf I would at worst be amused.

But now, for these UK tissue samples no doubt collected and processed quite reasonably, in most part for the purpose of diagnosis and the best possible medical care will be subject to special disposal processes that may involve religious rituals played out over tissue samples and smears, microscope slides and the like, and the tissue blocks from which they came.

I have sympathy for those who loose a loved one, but why are tissue samples so important? If it really does matter, what about all those vials of blood, plasma, serum etc that are capped and labelled in the back of freezers. Strangely, they are far far more common that most would imagine yet never raise the same, or indeed any, such emotions.


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