photo by nhia moua on unsplash
a man who donated his mother's body to what he thought was alzheimer's research learned later it was used to test explosives. so what does happen when your body is donated to medical science?
last week new details of a lawsuit emerged against the biological resource centre in arizona following an fbi raid in 2014 in which gruesome remains of hundreds of discarded body parts were discovered.
the now closed centre is accused of illegally selling body parts against the donors wishes.
newly released court documents revealed that families of those whose bodies had been donated to the centre said they believed their relatives remains would be used for medical and scientific research.
jim stauffer is one of the multiple plaintiffs suing the centre. he believed his mother's donated body would be used to study alzheimer's, a disease she had, but he later found out it was used by the military to examine the effects of explosives.
he says on the paperwork he was given by the centre he specifically ticked 'no' when asked if he consented to the body being used to test explosives.
tick[tɪk]: v. 标记号，打钩号
so how does the body donation business operate in the us and what expectations do people have about these facilities?
while organ donation is regulated by the us department of health and human services, body donation remains an unregulated industry.
buying and selling bodies is a felony but what is permissible is charging a "reasonable" amount to "process" a body, this includes the removal, storage transportation, or disposing of it.
what constitutes a "reasonable" amount is also open to interpretation. facilities are largely able to set up their own internal practices and policies.
there is also no known national or global register to account for how many bodies are donated for medical research each year.
but it's estimated thousands of people in the us donate bodies for education or research, believing their actions are charitable and the bodies will be used for medical science.
university body donation centres will mostly use cadavers to teach medical students and many such as the university of california are committed to operating a transparent programme.
cadaver[kə'dævɚ]: n. [医] 尸体；死尸
brandi schmitt, executive director of anatomical services at the university of california, told the bbc that what happens to a donated body depends on the kind of centre it goes to.
in other countries, religious beliefs may impact upon decisions to donate a body for medical research. for example in some african countries even organ donation is a taboo, and desecration of the body is considered contrary to some religious teachings.
in qatar a hospital where human body parts are imported for cutting-edge medical science research has been operating for 12 years. surgeons there do not use replica body parts but "specimens".
in a highly bureaucratic process that involves the joint work of six government ministries, real human body parts (mostly shoulders, knees, ankles and torsos) are imported to the hospital, with most of the supply coming from the united states.
bureaucratic[,bjʊrə'krætɪk]: adj. 官僚的；官僚政治的