Family Can Sue Medical Examiner Over Son’s Missing Brain


Posted on 1st October 2010 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

, ,

It is a macabre case that shows that truth is often stranger than fiction.

The case involves the brain of Jesse Shipley, 17, a Port Richmond High School student in New York. Shipley was killed in a car accident on Jan. 9, 2005, and his family agreed to an autopsy of the body the next day. The youth’s remains were picked up and a funeral was held three days later.

But two months later, according to The New York Law Journal, fellow students of Shipley’s sister Shannon, who was also hurt in the accident, went on a field trip to the Richmond County Mortuary on Staten Island. And some of the students spotted a human brain in a jar filled with formaldehyde. The jar was marked with the name Jesse Shipley.

New York Appellate Justice William Mastro called the incident “a surreal coincidence,” according to The Law Journal.

Shannon Shipley’s classmates told her about the brain, and she told her parents. They learned that the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office had kept Jesse’s brain to do tests on it, and that those tests were done a day or so after the field trip.

Shipley’s family got a temporary restraining order to stop any additional tests on his brain, which was returned to them. The family held a second funeral for their son, according to The Law Journal. 

The Shipley family sued New York City and the medical examiner’s office in March 2006, asking for damages for the improper handling of their son’s remains. 

Brooklyn’s New York Appellate Division, 2nd Department, recently ruled that the Shipley family has the right to sue the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office for violating their right of sepulcher, for removing and keeping Jesse’s brain without telling the family.

No comments yet.

Leave a comment