Hundreds of relatives contact Keches Law about class action
Since filing a class action lawsuit on June 16, we’ve been contacted by hundreds of family members of victims of the Harvard Medical School morgue case. More than 320 people have reached out to share their stories of shock and disgust related to the mishandling and alleged sale of their loved ones’ remains by former morgue manager Cedric Lodge.
“[We aim] to get answers, find out more about how long it was going on, why there were no controls in place and to try and bring an extra layer of closure for these families,” he said. “To find answers, hold these people accountable, and to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
Anyone whose close relative donated their body to Harvard Medical School may be eligible to join the class action lawsuit.
Janet Pizzi, a nurse from Waltham and a claimant in the lawsuit, said she thinks it’s important for families affected that they find out exactly what happened, accountability is taken by Harvard Medical School and that this never happens again.
Pizzi said that as a nurse she understands that unexpected deaths and injuries happen, but that the healthcare industry needs to take responsibility.
“It’s about putting systems and policies in place so that things can be audited so that no further events happen, and this seems like a very long time to me that this has gone on,” she said. “I think there should definitely be accountability at the end of the road for these families who are suffering.”
Pizzi said her uncle Michael had wished throughout his life that his body be donated and studied by science. When he died 5 years ago, his body was donated to Harvard Medical School.
The class action lawsuit comes after horrific allegations that Cedric Lodge, former Harvard Medical School morgue manager, sold body parts that had been donated to the school on the black market.
Lodge, 55, of Goffstown, New Hampshire, was indicted, arrested and charged with unlawful interstate transport of stolen human remains from “in or about 2018 through on or about Aug. 16, 2022,” according to a statement from Harvard officials.
Lodge was one of five people charged in the scandal, none of whom were associated with the university. Investigators believe that Lodge worked without cooperation of anyone else at Harvard Medical School or Harvard University.
Based on precedent set by cases like Kelly v. Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Massachusetts law allows for recovery of emotional damages when close family members traumatized by the death of a loved one experience serious mental anguish caused by harm to the decedent’s remains resulting from a breach of that duty.
“It’s been 5 years and to find out now that this has happened and that you know he was affected at Harvard Medical School really brought back a lot of pain and suffering and I know there are so many people out there experiencing the same thing,” Pizzi said.
Pizzi said Harvard Medical School hasn’t reached out to her to offer any form of explanation.
“I’ve seen people through sickness, illness, death, tragedy and when you know things and you can understand them you can kind of wrap your arms around them and move forward,” she said. “This is a real travesty and there needs to be some accountability at the end of it.”
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