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New York Medical Examiner Sued For Keeping A Brain

Jesse Shipley, a 17 year-old high school student, died in a car accident on January 9th, 2005. Jesse’s father consented to an autopsy. The autopsy was completed and Jesse’s remains were picked up by a funeral home later that day. A few months later several classmates of Jesse Shipley were on a field trip to the Richmond County Coroner’s office where there they noticed a jar containing a human brain that was suspended in formaldehyde. The label on the jar indicated that the brain belonged to Jesse Shipley.

The students told the parents of Jesse Shipley about Jesse’s brain being maintained in a jar in the medical examiners office. To say the least, Jesse’s parents were very upset.

Jesse Shipley’s parents sued the City of New York and the medical examiner’s office. They requested damages related to the improper taking of Jesse’s brain. The City of New York tried to have the action dismissed claiming that the brain was retained for various scientific purposes. The judge handling the case dismissed the motion.

The City of New York should not have taken this young girl’s brain without her parents permission. I can imagine the shock and chagrin of the parents when they spoke with Jesse’s classmates after the field trip and found out that her friends were looking at her brain in a jar suspended by formaldehyde. I hope the parents collect from the City of New York for their emotional distress and other damages.

In the event you or a family member are involved in a car accident, slip and fall, wrongful death, dog bite or other type of personal injury case, feel free to contact the law office of Elliot Schlissel at 1-800-344-6431, or by email.

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