Events

Bereaved family uncover grandfather was dissected at a “curiosities” event after donating his body to science

The family of a WWII vet were shocked to discover his body was dissected in front of a paying audience instead of used for medical research, as they were led to believe.

The event was organised by Jeremy Ciliberto, the founder of DeathScience.Org, as a sideshow event for the Oddities and Curiosities Expo on 17 October.

According to Vice, attendees paid up to US$500 ($676) to watch a retired anatomy professor perform an autopsy on Saunders in the ballroom of a Marriott hotel in Portland.

The family discovered Saunders’ body was used for the event when a journalist from King5  who attended the event published the name printed on a tag that was hanging from the corpse’s body.

According to the journalist, the anatomy professor, Dr Colin Henderson, said the man he dissected had donated his body to science.

Ciliberto reportedly purchased the cadaver from Las Vegas-based Med Ed Labs, which offers free cremation in exchange for the donation of human bodies for medical research, education and training.

He said he paid the company more than $10,000 for the body and that Med Ed knew how the body would be used.

However, Kimberly DiLeo, the chief medical death investigator for the Multnomah County, Oregon Medical Examiner told King5 that Med Ed was unaware of the event.

“We feel that this was not respectful and certainly not ethical,” DiLeo said.

The funeral director who handled Saunders’ body after his death told King5 that Saunders’ family were under the impression his body would be used for medical research.

Meanwhile, Ciliberto told Motherboard that Med Ed not only provided the body, but also the anatomist, the equipment, venue booking and all handling of the body before, during and after the event.

The Oddities and Curiosities Expo has also distanced itself from the event, claiming the “Cadaver Class” was not part of the expo, which took place the day before at the Oregon Convention Centre.

“Our only role was to provide a ticketing platform for Death Science, which was the proprietor of the class,” the expo said in a statement.

“The Oddities and Curiosities Expo made no profit from this demonstration. The cadaver class has never been a part of the travelling expo.”

The Nibbler has contacted Marriott for comment.


Feautred image source: iStock/fstop123

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