Who Would Rob A Corpse?

Nanny-state bureaucrats, of course!

In an article "Mother denied daughter's organs," BBC News told of Rachel Leake's problem with impending kidney failure.  Mrs. Leake's daughter wanted to donate a kidney to save her mother's life, but the daughter died of asthma before she could start the paperwork.  The BBC reported:

Despite her personal wish to help her mother, her daughter's organs went to others on the waiting list.

The bureaucracy's power to manipulate the transplant list is literally power of life and death over people whose lives depend on getting replacement organs.  In this case, what the National Health Service did is theft, pure and simple.

In English law going back many centuries, when you die, your body becomes part of your estate.  You can dispose of your body in any way you like by clearly expressing your wishes before you die.

The most reliable way to express your wishes is to write them down in a formal document called a "will," but that's not at all necessary.  Any well-attested and clearly stated wish has the same force as anything written into your will.  Courts prefer that you write your wishes down to avoid confusion and argument, but there's no doubt that the daughter wanted her mother to receive one of her kidneys.

Unfortunately for Mrs. Leake, bureaucrats generally disregard the law in favor of their own internal policies whenever they think they can get away with it.  They ignored the fact that the body was part of the daughter's estate, they ignored the fact that it was not their property.  They appropriated her remains for their own purposes based on their procedures for allocating organs.

Who would rob a corpse?  A health-care bureaucracy whose members are exempt from public criticism.

But the old-time grave robbers went about their grisly business in the dark of night, with guards posted, in secrecy and shame.  Today's corpse thieves have not even the dignity of shame; they are proud of their actions.

Which is worse - to do evil shamefacedly, knowing it's evil, or to do evil and proudly proclaim it to be good?

Will Offensicht is a staff writer for Scragged.com and an internationally published author by a different name.  Read other Scragged.com articles by Will Offensicht or other articles on Bureaucracy.
Reader Comments
Didn't the current Prime Minister announce that if someone dies in their hospitals without written wills that the hospitals cna harvest their organs as a 'privilege of the state'? Is that what's happening in the USA now?...and when where the old laws changed?
May 28, 2008 12:42 PM
This is shocking and awful. The only sadder thing is knowing that if England is doing this now, we'll be following suit within the decade.
May 28, 2008 2:17 PM
I was also surprised by this. Have beaurocrats become so unfeeling and hateful that they would tell a mother - who had just lost a child - that she could not honor her child's wishes? It hurts no one anywhere for them to allow her to honor her child's wish. What possible reason could they have except for pure, unadultered self-agrandizement?
May 28, 2008 3:35 PM
Methinks it will be here far sooner than ten years. Take a look at what New York City is up to as reported by Slate:


Even Slate, not exactly known for its conservatism, is well aware of and badly frightened by the slippery slope here.
May 28, 2008 7:32 PM
I think it's very possible that there was just a disconnect between usual bureaucracat processes and the wishes of the daughter/mother. Has anyone confirmed that there was a specific conversation between specific people who specifically denied requests? No reason to get panicky about a news story that has been sensationalized.
May 29, 2008 9:37 AM

To answer twibi's question, it hurts the person who ended up getting the organ, who presumably had a longer life expectancy with it than the mother did.

August 9, 2020 1:50 AM
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