Fine For Patient Who Left Amputated Leg In Hospital

A man who left his amputated leg in a Spanish hospital after an op to remove it will have to pay a fine if he fails to pick it up.

Bidasoa Hospital authorities in Hondarribia, Basque Country, Spain urged a patient – whom they identified only by his ID card number – to collect the limb within 10 days from Monday, 29th August.

The plea – which was published in the Official Bulletin of the Basque Country – said that if he failed to do so, he would have to either pay a fine of up to EUR 400 (GBP 347) or accept cremation charges estimated at EUR 1,500 (GBP 1,300).

The president of the Defensor del Paciente (Patient Advocate) association in Madrid, Carmen Flores, criticised the decision, calling it ethically “reprehensible”.

Maria Eugenia Alkiza Eizagirre from the National Association of Amputees joined in the criticism against the announcement and claimed that patients are not always financially capable of paying cremation expenses.

The director of the Araso Funeral Home in Irun, Carlos Fernandez, claimed that such cases are not rare.

He said: “When a person enters the hospital and, out of necessity, they have to amputate a limb, the centre forces the patient to take charge of the disappearance of that remain.

“Unfortunately it is much more common today, since the life of a person is valued more than the disappearance of a member that can be replaced with a prosthesis.”

Local media did not report if the amputee collected his leg from the hospital.