Maine brain harvesting case goes to trial

[[[UPDATE — Jury ruled in favor of the research institute and Matthew Cyr]]]

 

 

The families said that they only agreed to give tissue samples to the Maryland-based research center, but that instead entire brains were taken.

Ann Mozingo’s lawsuit against The Stanley Medical Research Institute, the founder of the Institute, and a former funeral inspector for the state of Maine went to trial this week.  Ms. Mozingo says that a former funeral inspector, Matthew Cyr, tricked her into donating her husband’s brain.  Mozingo maintains that she only agreed to donate a tissue sample and that she had wanted to honor her late husband’s wishes to be cremated.  But instead, Cyr and the Institute removed her husband’s brain without informing her.

According to The Maine Public Broadcasting Network, over the span of six years, the Maryland institute collected more than 99 brains from Maine’s state morgue and, in total, Cyr received $150,000 from The Stanley Research Institute.  At least a dozen of other families have sued over this matter, but most of the cases have settled.

One of the reasons the cases have settled is because there doesn’t seem to be any dispute that the funeral inspector misled the families by stating he would just take a tissue sample and not their loved one’s brain —

[Mozingo’s attorney]: “You don’t know what the difference is between organs and tissue, do you sir?
Matthew Cyr: “Not off the top of my head, right now, no.”
[Mozingo’s attorney]: “Didn’t you once tell us it would take an expert to tell the difference between tissue and organ?”
Matthew Cyr: “Possibly, yes.”
Given these facts, it looks like this trial is just going to be about assessing the damages on behalf Ms. Mozingo and her late husband.

Brain in a jar photo courtesy of Simon Scott

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~ by siouxsielaw on September 21, 2011.

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