Texas woman says 10-year-old girl's organs may have been harvested without permission

LUBBOCK, Texas -- A grandmother in Texas says she has a lot of questions after she found out doctors may have harvested her 10-year-old granddaughter's organs without permission.

Rebecca Villarreall says that four days after her granddaughter Elaina Castilleja died, a memo was sent to the doctor who would perform Elaina's autopsy, giving instructions to harvest her organs.

The letter, signed by chief medical examiner Dr. Sam Andrews, instructed the doctor to preserve the brain, but remove the cervical spine, eyes, lungs and more.

"We did not sign up for this," Villarreall told KLBK. "I knew she had to have an autopsy, but this is remove her, remove this. She was 10 years old."

Villarreall adopted Elaina when she was 1 year old. Elaina suffered most of her life from the effects of Shaken Baby Syndrome.

Villarreall said she was told that because of the syndrome, an autopsy needed to be done, but she never agreed to organs being harvested.

"They literally disassembled my child," she said. "She wasn't a manufactured home. She wasn't a toy. She wasn't a doll. She was a person."

It's unknown why Dr. Andrews and the pathology labs requested the organs to be taken out or whether the doctor followed through on those instructions.

"Who are these monsters?" Villarreall said. "These are monsters. Who are these people? I didn't sign no papers. I didn't sign for them to disassemble."

In a situation like this, experts say that the law is complicated and it usually comes down to a question of ethics.

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