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Author Topic: Hundreds of Americans given body parts from looted cadavers
snopes
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Hundreds of very live Americans are walking around with pieces of the wrong dead people inside of them.

http://www.azcentral.com/offbeat/articles/0130body-parts-ON.html

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Pseudo_Croat
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Well, seeing as the harvested flesh is going to a good cause, I don't see what all the shock, horror, and hullabaloo is about.

- Pseudo "abra-cadavera" Croat

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Ganzfeld
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I see what the shock, etc. is about. Some of these body parts were not only stolen but they were never checked for proper age or for diseases. It's wrong to use someone's body parts without permission, even if it seems that it's going to a "good cause". But these activities are also endangering the health and lives of the recipients.
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Troodon
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Doctor Vhazilok, no!

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Jim Padric
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That's the most shocking story I have read in some time. Setting aside the horrendous health risks of transplanting skin, tissue or bone from a 95 year old cancer victim as described in the article, the idea of stealing the bodies of dead people disgusts me. After reading the story i realise that the sanctity of the corpse is important to me - to violate it without the will of its owner is unseemly in the extreme - and makes life seem a little less worthwhile.

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bthyb
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quote:
"We know that they obtained these bodies in a fraudulent way and off the scale of acceptable practice," FDA spokesman Stephen King said.

Did anyone notice the name of the FDA spokesman???

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Pseudo_Croat
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I still don't see why it's dangerous. Shouldn't whatever the corpse had die with it?

I also don't see why it violates a person's sanctity or make life less worthwile. After a person dies, they're not really that person anymore, are they? They're just... dead.

- Pseudo (still [Confused] ) Croat

--------------------
"At all events, people who deny the influence of smaller nations should remember that the Croats have the rest of us by the throats." - Norman Davies, Europe: A History

God wants spiritual fruits, not religious nuts.

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diddy
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quote:
Originally posted by Pseudo_Croat:
I still don't see why it's dangerous. Shouldn't whatever the corpse had die with it?

I also don't see why it violates a person's sanctity or make life less worthwile. After a person dies, they're not really that person anymore, are they? They're just... dead.

- Pseudo (still [Confused] ) Croat

It is wrong for the same reason that you cant take the deceased clothes or property from him after death. You cant use the justification that they are dead to make something right. It is the right of the deceased or his family to decide what the person wants to do with the family. Not yours.

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Troodon
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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I think that with the exception of certian small religious groups, Americans do not think that the way the body is treated after death can affect the "soul" of the deceased. Thus, while many people are understandably uncomfortable with the thought of the dead bodies of themselves or those they care about being cut up for parts, mandatory organ donation can save lives without doing any "real" harm to anyone After all, the alternative is not preserving the corpse forever - it will be destroyed either way. I think a very good case could be made for mandatory organ donation, but I don't expect it to be the law anytime soon.

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Hero_Mike
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quote:
Originally posted by Troodon:
I think that with the exception of certian small religious groups, Americans do not think that the way the body is treated after death can affect the "soul" of the deceased.

The Catholic church is not opposed to organ donation, and neither is it opposed to creamation. However, Catholic funerary rites demand that the remains (body or ashes) are treated with reverence. That is to say, they are interred on consecrated ground. This has been in place since 1966.

Catholics, even in the US, are not a "small" religious group.

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Troodon
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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I don't think Catholics believe that the soul will be harmed if the body is not buried on consecrated ground, do they? I was under the impression that treating the body with reverence is something the living are supposed to do for their own good, not for the good of the deceased.

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Hero_Mike
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Cremation is still forbidden in the Eastern Orthodox church, because the destruction of the body is seen as a sacrilegious act which denies the "resurrection of the body". This is still not a "literal" resurrection, in that people who were buried will rise from their graves like zombies, and that those who are missing a limb (or two) will continue to be missing those limbs. In any case, those who choose cremation are denied an Orthdox church funeral, or prayers for their deceased soul.

The Catholic church allows cremation with the restrictions upon the treatment of the ashes. This is not only a Catholic rule but also in the Scandinavian Lutheran church, as described here :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cremation#The_Roman_Catholic_Church

What happens to a person's remains are, for the most part, out of their control. Where I can see Catholics, and the Catholic church getting upset is that the living choose to have someone scatter their ashes to the four winds - because that is contrary to the issue of reverence for the body, which once contained a soul. Even to choose this for one's own body shows a lack of reverence to it.

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Troodon
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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The way I understand your post, these religions consider it wrong to treat someone else's (or your own) body irreverently. In any case, it's the person doing the desecrating who gets in trouble, not the person whose body is being desecrated. What I meant in my original post is those religions that believe that mistreating a body harms the soul that used to inhabit that body. For example (if I understand it correctly), the ancient Egyptians believed that destroying a mummy actually harmed the soul of the person whose mummy you destroyed. I don't think any of the major modern religions have such beliefs - that is, I don't think any of them think that a person's soul will suffer if someone desecrates his body, as long as that person did not arrange for the desecration while he was still alive.

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Hero_Mike
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quote:
Originally posted by Troodon:
The way I understand your post, these religions consider it wrong to treat someone else's (or your own) body irreverently. In any case, it's the person doing the desecrating who gets in trouble, not the person whose body is being desecrated. What I meant in my original post is those religions that believe that mistreating a body harms the soul that used to inhabit that body. For example (if I understand it correctly), the ancient Egyptians believed that destroying a mummy actually harmed the soul of the person whose mummy you destroyed. I don't think any of the major modern religions have such beliefs - that is, I don't think any of them think that a person's soul will suffer if someone desecrates his body, as long as that person did not arrange for the desecration while he was still alive.

You would be correct. Selecting a sacrilegious method of disposing of your own body, while you are alive, is the problem. The actions of the living soul are what determines how it is judged. Desecrating your own remains would be seen as particularly bad because it is most certainly pre-meditated, and depending upon who you hire to do it after you die, forces them to commit a sin.

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Ardeco
The World According to Carp


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quote:
Originally posted by Pseudo_Croat:
I still don't see why it's dangerous. Shouldn't whatever the corpse had die with it?

Not necessarily. Cancer, according to Hanahan and Weinberg (Cell Press, Vol. 100, pp. 57-70), cancer has the following six acquired functional capabilities:
- Evading apoptosis
- Self-sufficiency in growth signals
- Insensitivity to anti-growth signals
- Sustained angiogenesis
- Limitless replicative potential , and
- Tissue invasion and metastasis.
Theoretically, as long as the cancer cells are kept in conditions in which the cells can survive, the cell line will be immortal. HeLa is a perfect (but by no means typical) example. I would think that if the death is caused by cancer, all transplants from that person would be ruled out.

Also, even if the cause of death wasn't cancer, if the cause of death was some sort of retrovirus
(which changes the host's DNA) or if there was some sort of physical defect in the organ (tetralogy of fallot, for example) I wouldn't exactly want that organ transplanted into me.

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Pseudo_Croat
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That may be true, but is there any proof that getting another person's cancer cells in your body will make you get their cancer?

Anyhoo, interesting info re: Orthodox Christians and cremation. It raises the question: what happens to the souls of people who, say, die in a fire or a nuclear blast? Does an unintentional death-by-cremation prevent the "resurrection of the body"?

- Pseudo "un-orthodox questions" Croat

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"At all events, people who deny the influence of smaller nations should remember that the Croats have the rest of us by the throats." - Norman Davies, Europe: A History

God wants spiritual fruits, not religious nuts.

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Arriah
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I think that question falls firmly under the "Why take the chance?" category. (the bit about transplanting cancer cells) There are enough people dying all the time that don't have cancer that I think using the organs of a cancer death is an unreasonable risk to make. Of course, the final decision should belong to the receiver of the organ.

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Ulkomaalainen
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I really cannot comment on the medical implications, but using body parts without permission just seems to be wrong to me. Of course we could argue about people becoming organ donors by löaw (with possible exemptions for people of religious beliefs who would object), but at least over here it is something you can decide upon yourself. Sure, no "real damage" is done, and I can think of worse things to happen (plus I have an organ donor card stating I am willing to donate all organs, so it doesn't apply to me personally at all), but it is wrong to ignore peoples explicitely granted decision rights. YMMV on the legal issue, of course.

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FrogFeathers
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I bet my brother is so glad he opted to use his own skin for grafting on his burns. He said after he had the skin removed from his lower back and thighs that it hurt as much as the burns- he may have gone for cadaver skin. I'm going to print the article and send it to him, so he can now be thankful he used his own.

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Red Squirrel
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Donated waffles

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Red Squirrel
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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quote:
Originally posted by Troodon:
I think a very good case could be made for mandatory organ donation, but I don't expect it to be the law anytime soon.

I think people should have to opt-out of organ donation rather than opt-in. Too much time is often wasted even in cases where the recently deceased have made it very well known they want their organs used after their death checking with next of kin and tying up any legal ramifications. Carrying a "non-donor" card I think would make far more sense than carrying a donor card- and would save a lot of lives in the process.

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Faith
Happy Holly Days


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quote:
Originally posted by Ardeco:
quote:
Originally posted by Pseudo_Croat:
I still don't see why it's dangerous. Shouldn't whatever the corpse had die with it?

Not necessarily. Cancer, according to Hanahan and Weinberg (Cell Press, Vol. 100, pp. 57-70), cancer has the following six acquired functional capabilities:
- Evading apoptosis
- Self-sufficiency in growth signals
- Insensitivity to anti-growth signals
- Sustained angiogenesis
- Limitless replicative potential , and
- Tissue invasion and metastasis.
Theoretically, as long as the cancer cells are kept in conditions in which the cells can survive, the cell line will be immortal. HeLa is a perfect (but by no means typical) example. I would think that if the death is caused by cancer, all transplants from that person would be ruled out.

Also, even if the cause of death wasn't cancer, if the cause of death was some sort of retrovirus
(which changes the host's DNA) or if there was some sort of physical defect in the organ (tetralogy of fallot, for example) I wouldn't exactly want that organ transplanted into me.

Ardeco,

You sound like you know a lot about this subject and I admit all I have to go on is a documentary I saw on the BC about 10 years ago about the Henrietta Lacks case (It might have been made by "Horizon"). In it, they argue that the HeLa cells were they ONLY time cancer cells have been found to replicate outside of living organisms and that ALL other "successful" experiments had in fact been contaminated by the HeLa cells.

Thoughts? Was this debunked? I remember it being a fascinating, albeit very sad story.

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"You watched it. You can't UNWATCH it."

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BlushingBride
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Well, as someone who received a cadaver bone in the time period and in a location specified as affected by the article, I have to say I find the idea of this to be creepy. I've always enjoyed the thought that whoever gave me my new arm was a kind, generous person, who did it as an act of love to a stranger. If I were to believe that it could have been stolen, I would find that disturbing.

I do know that my orthopedic surgeon mentioned that with bone, age of the donor is very important. There's a good difference in strength between the bone of say a 30 year old and a 90 year old.

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Ardeco
The World According to Carp


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quote:
Originally posted by Faith:

You sound like you know a lot about this subject and I admit all I have to go on is a documentary I saw on the BC about 10 years ago about the Henrietta Lacks case (It might have been made by "Horizon"). In it, they argue that the HeLa cells were they ONLY time cancer cells have been found to replicate outside of living organisms and that ALL other "successful" experiments had in fact been contaminated by the HeLa cells.

Thoughts? Was this debunked? I remember it being a fascinating, albeit very sad story.

To tell you the truth, I don't know all the conditions which must be met for cancer to spread, but the cancer wouldn't have to be outside of a living organism. If the tissue is being sustained in a living organism, the cancer would still spread. If the p53 gene has been damaged, tumor suppression in the tissue will be inhibited, and apoptosis (programmed cell death) will be inhibited as well. Also, when the DNA is damaged, as it is in cancer, protein folding is affected, which causes further mutations. In essence, what I am trying to say is that the disease does not necessarily die with the patient; parasites feed on hosts, but viruses (and cancers) cause malicious content to be added to the DNA of the host. I hope I made more sense this time.

Also, you're right, HeLa contamination is a problem, but it's a bit of a reach to say that all successful cancer lines have been contaminated. HeLa contamination is a known problem, but unlimited growth potential is a known and well-documented attribute of cancer cells. Besides, telomerase has been shown to be overactive in 90% of all human tumors, causing the cell to divide past the Hayflick limit (~52 times). I hope this helps...

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ThistleSoftware
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quote:
Originally posted by Pseudo_Croat:
I still don't see why it's dangerous. Shouldn't whatever the corpse had die with it?


- Pseudo (still [Confused] ) Croat

Others have pretty much answered this, but when a friend of mine died of a virulent Staph infection his family was told he had to be cremated to prevent the spread of the bacteria. I think with certain microbes they can continue to live after the host has died.

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Ryda Wong, EBfCo.
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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Other than the ick and disease factor, I don't really have a problem with it. It is, after all, just meat. Who cares if it is intact or not? It's going to rot, and that, to me, is much, much nastier than using the body for donations or even animal food.

I understand the religious angle as well, and how the family might be upset. That might provide an exemption. I still think it's silly.

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Faith
Happy Holly Days


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quote:
Originally posted by Ardeco:
quote:
Originally posted by Faith:

You sound like you know a lot about this subject and I admit all I have to go on is a documentary I saw on the BC about 10 years ago about the Henrietta Lacks case (It might have been made by "Horizon"). In it, they argue that the HeLa cells were they ONLY time cancer cells have been found to replicate outside of living organisms and that ALL other "successful" experiments had in fact been contaminated by the HeLa cells.

Thoughts? Was this debunked? I remember it being a fascinating, albeit very sad story.

To tell you the truth, I don't know all the conditions which must be met for cancer to spread, but the cancer wouldn't have to be outside of a living organism. If the tissue is being sustained in a living organism, the cancer would still spread. If the p53 gene has been damaged, tumor suppression in the tissue will be inhibited, and apoptosis (programmed cell death) will be inhibited as well. Also, when the DNA is damaged, as it is in cancer, protein folding is affected, which causes further mutations. In essence, what I am trying to say is that the disease does not necessarily die with the patient; parasites feed on hosts, but viruses (and cancers) cause malicious content to be added to the DNA of the host. I hope I made more sense this time.

Also, you're right, HeLa contamination is a problem, but it's a bit of a reach to say that all successful cancer lines have been contaminated. HeLa contamination is a known problem, but unlimited growth potential is a known and well-documented attribute of cancer cells. Besides, telomerase has been shown to be overactive in 90% of all human tumors, causing the cell to divide past the Hayflick limit (~52 times). I hope this helps...

Yes it does - thanks very much for responding.

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Troberg
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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quote:
Other than the ick and disease factor, I don't really have a problem with it.
I would say that at most times, I don't approve with using organs without permission, but if there is a life at stake, I can see no moral justification for not doing it.

In a situation where an organ is needed right now or a patient will die and no organ is available, I sure as hell would not blame a doctor using an organ from someone who just died, provided it's medically sound. It's wrong, but one must have some sense of proportions.

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/Troberg

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Jim Padric
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Troberg, you are neglecting the fact that these people were raiding cadavers for money - not out of the goodness of their hearts. To those who can see no 'moral' problem, and those that seem to be focusing on the religious objections to organ-theives why is the arbitrary and ultimately meaningingless rule of a religion more important than how an individual feels about their body? My body belongs to me, and whether I'm an athiest or not my right to my body should be respected.

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The Rubber Chicken
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quote:
In a situation where an organ is needed right now or a patient will die and no organ is available, I sure as hell would not blame a doctor using an organ from someone who just died, provided it's medically sound. It's wrong, but one must have some sense of proportions.
Not to trivialize the matter, but I believe they did an episode of Law and Order about this (might have been SVU), and it covered very well the moral/ethical dilemmas that doctors face. There was a supplier who was only trying to make a quick buck, the doctor trying to save a life, and a young, dying child on a long waiting list for a kidney.

I agree in principle with Troberg, in that I think everyone should be an organ donor, and that there shouldn't be a reason not to save another person's life if you can. But... I also know that not everybody shares my beliefs, and stealing organs isn't the answer -- nor does it sound particularly safe.

The best we can do is try to convince as many people as possible to donate their organs when they die, the safe and legitimate way.

Then again, if I had a loved one who was desperately in need of an organ, I'd probably feel differently. It's definitely a dilemma, and not one I would ever want to face.

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Troberg
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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quote:
Troberg, you are neglecting the fact that these people were raiding cadavers for money - not out of the goodness of their hearts.
Not really, I was drawing up the lines for what I consider moral behaviour, without actually relating to the details in this case.

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/Troberg

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Jim Padric
Eagle Opportunity Employer


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Is a crime Law and Order hasn't done?

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Hi hi hi there my little droogies

Posts: 32 | From: Australia | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
   

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