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State Pathology Department

Volume 405: debated on Tuesday 13 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what research the State Pathology Department undertakes in Northern Ireland. [102016]

It is the policy of the State Pathologist's Department to use where appropriate, the valuable information gained from conducting post mortem examinations, particularly in areas such as sudden infant deaths, suicides, terrorist related deaths and genetic disorders. This information may be of tremendous value, particularly in inherited diseases for genetic counselling and in other instances for providing advice and guidance in preventing further similar deaths.In conveying such information, the anonymity of 1he deceased is protected. If relatives decide to donate tissue or organs specifically for research, the State Pathologist's Department must have their written consent to do so.The State Pathologist's Department does not use material derived from Coroner's post mortem examinations to conduct research. Such material is solely taken to assist in the ascertainment of the cause of death, or if required for evidential purposes in suspected criminal cases.