Anatomy demonstration tickets sold to the general public
The widow learned about the case from the media
Companies will be investigated
His wife donated the body of David Saunders, a 98-year-old man from the US state of Louisiana who died of COVID-19 in August of this year, for medical research. However, the fate that received his body was different from what the family had expected.
The body was used in a demonstration at a hotel. A ticket to watch an autopsy costs up to US$500 (about 2,700 Brazilian reais) per person. Some people even wear gloves to get close to and touch the body.
Widow Elise Saunders said, “My impression was that it would be for medical science purposes only, not that his body would be exposed.” She described the event as “horrific” and said she learned about it through media reports. She was in shock.
The case was made public due to a video published by the King 5 News Television Network, from Seattle (USA). In it, it is possible to see an autopsy that would have been performed for a paid audience at a hotel in Portland, Oregon.
“Five hundred dollars every time people watch it – that’s not science,” said Elsie Saunders.
The event, which took place on October 17, was announced as a “Corpse Lab” category, “brought in” by a company called Death Science (“death science”, free translation) and a second organiser, The Oddities and Curiosities Gallery (“Exposition of Curiosities and Curiosities”, free translation).
According to a Death Science representative, tickets were made available to the general public. In total, seventy people attended a putative workshop where “participants were able to observe an anatomical dissection of a complete human cadaver,” according to the actor.
According to company founder Jeremy Celeberto, its goal was to “create an educational experience for individuals interested in learning more about human anatomy.”
“We understand that the accident caused the family unnecessary suffering and we apologize for that,” he said.
The Oregon Department of Justice and the Multnomah County District Attorney concluded that although the autopsy may have violated civil law, there are no “criminal laws directly applicable to such circumstances.”
The brain and organs were removed during what she called a “public pay-per-view event,” said Kimberly DeLeo, Multnomah County’s chief medical examiner.
“This was totally immoral and immoral,” she said. She also said that county authorities are investigating whether the event is in violation of laws.
Elise Saunders says that after her husband’s death she tried to donate her body to Louisiana State University College of Medicine, but said she did not accept because David died of an infectious disease.
Then she went to a funeral home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who referred her to Med Ed Labs in Nevada. The lab claims to supply dead bodies to military, government, commercial, and not-for-profit organizations.
“I was never told they were going to resell my husband’s body,” Saunders said, referring to documents he signed with Med Ed Labs. “I would not, under any circumstances, have consented to the public disclosure of my husband’s body.”
In a statement published last Friday (5), the lab said it “did not know that people would pay to attend an event including a donor.”
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