Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Tokyo Abortuary Kept Fetuses in Freezer

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/getarticle.pl5?nn20040815a7.htm

Tokyo clinic kept fetuses from abortions in freezer

A maternity clinic in Tokyo has stored aborted fetuses in its freezer,according to Tokyo Metropolitan Government officials who have inspected theclinic.The officials said the clinic's handling of aborted fetuses violates theMedical Service Law and they plan to issue an order to correct thesituation.The metropolitan government inspected the clinic Aug. 5 after some employeesinformed the government that aborted fetuses may have been disposed of inthe garbage, a charge the clinic's director categorically denies.In an interview with Kyodo News, the clinic director said, "I can state withconfidence that such a thing has never happened in our clinic."The director, however, acknowledged that the clinic has been storing abortedfetuses in its freezer."We call a specialized waste disposer when we have a certain number offetuses, about once a year. Until then, we store the fetuses in a freezer toavoid the odor, especially during the summer," the director said.During their inspection, the officials found that the clinic wrapped abortedfetuses and their placentas in newspapers and stored them in a freezerinside an operating room in violation of Article 20 of the Medical ServiceLaw.The officials said they also found that those involved in the abortionprocedures brought home patients' medical records without their permissionin violation of Article 15 of the same law regulating the supervisoryresponsibility of clinic operators.The officials said the clinic has called the specialized waste disposer tocollect aborted fetuses and other infectious waste four times since theclinic opened in April 2002.The officials are now investigating how the waste disposer has handled thewaste from the clinic.In a related case, the Kanagawa Prefectural Police searched a Yokohama-basedmaternity clinic, Isezaki Clinic, in July on suspicion of disposing adismembered, aborted fetus in the garbage.The director of Isezaki Clinic later admitted to disposing of the fetus inviolation of the waste disposal law and closed the clinic.

The Japan Times: Aug. 15, 2004