"Makes you want to cry," said Hone Harawira, Maori Party MP for Tai Tokerau, when he heard that a family had just been told to pick up the rest of their baby’s heart a month after they thought they had buried all of him.
Last month, four day old Lazariah Mar (Ngati Hine, Ngapuhi) died following two heart operations. The parents were aware that heart tissue had been taken from their son during the final operation, but they assumed the tissue was put back in him before they took his body away for burial with his grandfather, who had died days earlier, in Waiomio.
"And I’m bloody angry as well, because Auckland DHB should know how important these things are to Maori people," said Harawira.
"No issue about surgeons doing what they think needs to be done, but body parts removed during surgery should be returned to the body for burial."
Harawira is calling for a review of the way Auckland Hospital deals with body parts.
"Saying they ‘forgot’ or ‘didn’t have time’ to put all the remains back is just not good enough," he said, " and I want clear procedures put in place so no other whanau has to go through what this whanau has.
"The whanau were stunned when they got a letter over the weekend from the hospital asking them to collect the rest of the baby’s heart," said Mr Harawira.
"No whanau should have to go through this.
I want the Minister of Health to find out how such a botch-up could occur, and what he’s going to do to make sure it doesn’t happen again."
The Ngakoti, Thompson and Mar whanau were expected to collect the rest of their baby’s heart Tuesday (September 30) morning at Auckland Hospital. They intend to bury the remainder of Lazariah’s heart with his koro in Waiomio.