Court OKs keeping teen's brain for autopsy

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York’s highest court has ruled that medical examiners don’t have to return to families all organs from autopsied bodies or even tell them parts are missing.

The case involves a New York City couple who buried their 17-year-old son after a 2005 car crash, not knowing his brain was removed. Two months after the funeral, Jesse Shipley’s high school class saw his brain in a labeled jar during a morgue field trip. The Shipleys got it back and had a second funeral.

A jury awarded them $1 million for emotional distress, reduced to $600,000 by a midlevel court.

The Court of Appeals said medical examiners have discretion, not a legal obligation, to tell families organs have been kept and have no liability for not doing it.