LONDON, March 19, 2014 ( – The remains of 86 unborn babies, victims either of natural miscarriage or deliberate abortion, have been discovered stored at Walsall Manor Hospital, in the West Midlands, reports the Daily Mail.

The hospital has apologized, blaming an “administrative error” and has said that only five patients have been affected and are being contacted. A hospital manager says they have been advised that contacting the remaining mothers would risk “causing more distress.”

“We will now be proceeding to arrange the cremations in line with our standard policy.”


The National Health Service Trust, which oversees the hospital, told ITV News Central that the babies were “not cremated due to an error where staff failed to send the correct forms to the mortuary.” The Trust told ITV that the remains will now be disposed of by the “usual processes” and that the hospital will be undergoing an investigation by the Human Tissue Authority on March 25.

Richard Kirby, chief executive of Walsall Manor Hospital, told ITV, “It is clear that in some cases the Trust has kept remains following terminations and miscarriages for longer than we should have done.”

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“I would like to apologise to each and every patient who has been affected by this and would like to reassure anyone who might be using our services now or in the future of our dedication in ensuring that this situation does not arise again,” Kirby added.

Seventy-three of the “samples” are reportedly under 12 weeks gestation, and the whole group range in age from 5 weeks from conception to up to 21 weeks. They are mainly the victims of “terminations and miscarriages” from 2012 and 2013.

Abortion in the UK is legal through all nine months of pregnancy if the child is suspected of suffering a “serious” disability that warrants it, with the approval of two physicians. In cases where two doctors have determined “in good faith” that the woman’s “life or health” – or that of her other children – will be adversely affected by continuing a pregnancy, abortion is available up to 24 weeks gestation. Aborted babies are normally considered “medical waste” and are incinerated according to the national regulations pertaining to such materials.