A REDDITCH woman has launched a petition in a bid to ease the pain of bereaved people suffering cruel delays in laying their loved ones to rest.
Lucy Harrison from Batchley and her friend Elaine Gordon have taken action in memory of their siblings, Gina Johnson and Peter Price, and for all those families and friends who have been bereaved in a violent way.
They are calling for a CT scanner to be installed in the West Midlands so coroners can use that instead of performing a traditional postmortem.
They say taking a scan would also remove the need for a second postmortem should one be required.
Lucy’s brother Peter was killed by a hit and run driver on November 29, 2014 while crossing the Hagley Road West in Birmingham.
A postmortem was conducted within 48 hours but because the defendant was given the option of a second postmortem, Peter’s funeral did not take place until January 15, 2015.
“I cannot describe the emotional impact this had on our family and friends,” said Lucy.
“We felt, and still feel, that Peter’s dignity was stripped from him as he was retained in a mortuary for several weeks, including over Christmas.
“Our desperate wish to have Peter moved to a chapel of rest, in time for Christmas Day, was ignored due to the request of a second postmortem – we will never fully recover from this.”
Elaine’s sister Gina was killed by a speeding uninsured driver on December 19, 2014.
Once again her funeral was held up by the option of second postmortem and wasn’t released to the family until February 2015.
“We are determined to try and stop other families being put through the utter heartbreak of a second postmortem and delayed funeral,” said Lucy and Elaine.
They have discovered that in Leicester, coroners have access to a CT scanner.
“We found that there all postmortems are conducted by CT scan initially, with only the rarest cases needing a traditional autopsy,” said Lucy.
“The CT scanner produces digital images that can be viewed and interpreted by various pathologists and specialists, negating the need to open or reopen the body to perform an invasive postmortem.
“As a result families have not had to endure the despair of waiting and not knowing when their loved one’s bodies will be returned for the funeral.”
The two campaigners are calling for Birmingham City Council to have a postmortem CT scanner, one that could be shared with Worcestershire, Warwickshire and Staffordshire.
The charity RoadPeace – www.roadpeace.org – is supporting the campaign.
Their petition can be found at https://bit.ly/2SBqvjG
To see a video of Lucy and Elaine launching their appeal, click here