Monday, March 28, 2011

Who's Got Your Back?

    Tens of thousands of people are induced, one way or another, to donate their bodies "to science" each year. Those who sign up probably don't realize that their bodies will not be reposing comfortably and rather gracefully on a table, while the medical professionals of the future look on with quiet awe. Not by a long shot! Their bodies will be expertly butchered , as per customers' needs -- for various joints, limbs, organs, etc. -- then shrink-wrapped and shipped off on ice, like specialty cuts of meat. And it is very expensive meat, indeed.
   The demand for "human cadaveric material" has exploded, and, naturally, money-hungry entrepreneurs have rushed in to satisfy the need. They are all over the Internet, luring potential donors with soothing and uplifting words about the "priceless gift to mankind" that their donation would represent.
    Who's got your back if you make this selfless donation? Who is there to make certain that you are fully informed about how your body will be used? Who is there to ensure that the use of your remains is within legal parameters, including the prohibition against selling human cadavers, in whole or in part?
    Basically no one. As one body broker put it, "It's the Wild West out here."  
     Read more about it behind the "Busy Bodies" tab above.