Child Who May Have Had Rare Disease Removed from Morgue to Avoid Autopsy

A young mother removed her dead infant from the morgue at Hadassah Hospital last week for fear that an autopsy would be performed without her consent. Prof. Alex Russel, head of pediatrics at the hospital, said today that autopsies were never ordered against family wishes but that it was essential to confirm the cause of death in this case because the child is believed to have succumbed to a rare disease that is hereditary.

Three-month-old Itai Moshe Ankari of Kiryat Arba was admitted to the hospital three weeks ago with an acute digestive disorder. He died last Thursday. Doctors asked permission to perform an autopsy and, according to Dr. Russel, the family agreed but later changed their minds. The ailment was diagnosed as necrotizing entercolitis a rare disease that is usually fatal and difficult to detect. Dr. Russel said it was important for the dead child’s brothers and sisters to know whether the diagnosis was correct because the disease is suspected to have a genetic cause and could afflict other children of the family.

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