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Widow seeks DNA sample from husband’s organs

Published 07/08/2009

A widow is to seek DNA samples from her late husband's organs as part of her legal battle over his hospital death nearly 10 years ago.

Bernie Magill revealed she wants to take possession of a bile duct and have it examined by a pathologist she has lined up to aid her case. The lecturer from Portrush is taking a medical negligence lawsuit over the death of her husband Brian, a 66-year-old retired bank manager.

A post-mortem report attributed the death in Belfast City Hospital in 1999 to liver cancer.

But his wife claims it was caused by blood poisoning after a bile duct was perforated. With her bid to have an inquest on hold, the civil action is due to be heard at the High Court in Belfast next month. Ahead of that hearing Mrs Magill sought orders for the disclosure of all coroner's records and to compel the State Pathologist to reveal all specimens kept on her late husband.

Both applications were dismissed, with Mr Justice Stephens hearing that all slides and tissues have been available for inspection for years.

But she told the judge: “I'm not convinced from my experience that the bile duct is present.”

After dismissing both strands of her appeal the judge also awarded costs against her. Mrs Magill, who plans to challenge the latest rulings, also acknowledged she could be left with a hefty bill if she ultimately loses her case.

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From Belfast Telegraph