Tuesday, 21 April 2009

No cover ups, no new privileges

I am puzzled by a report in the Times today that Jewish and Muslim families will be allowed to prevent autopsies being carried out on dead relatives (see http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article6140789.ece ).
Surely the whole point of an autopsy is to answer questions about a mysterious death. Frankly, my dears, it doesn’t matter which sky fairy you believe in and what your particular book of mumbo jumbo has to say about the matter. If your relative dies inexplicably there are questions to be answered.
It doesn’t matter if you, personally, are content in your flat earth belief that it was preordained. What if Dad/Mum/Brother/Sister/Baby died of something that could be spreading to others and that hasn’t been identified yet? The health authorities have a public duty to make sure, and your only public duty is not to get in the way.
And there are other considerations too. This blog reports on and has links to campaigns to prevent honour killings and similar violence against women around the globe. The grim fact is, these things do and will increasingly happen in the British Isles too. However many decent religious families there are, there are still fundamentalists with such a low opinion of their own womenfolk that they will kill them for ‘giving offence’ to medieval cretinism. If or when they do, they must not be able to hide behind ‘faith’ or ‘tradition’ to stop the crime being revealed.
There is a simple rule of thumb to follow here. Either the next of kin of all who die mysteriously have the right to prevent an autopsy, or no family does. The bizarre ability of some families to believe any given number of impossible things before breakfast simply should not be a factor or a ‘special case’.

No comments: