Horizon (1964) s44e09 Episode Script

How Much is Your Dead Body Worth?

This programme contains scenes which some viewers may find disturbing.
Do you care what happens to your body after you die? There are a growing number of people who do.
Because dead bodies have become big business.
I read recently that a body could be worth up to $250,000.
A medical revolution has meant that more and more parts of your body can be useful after you're dead.
There's the graft going through the knee joint.
It's created an insatiable demand for human tissue.
We're going to have the skin off this donor's back and long bones from the legs and arms.
But with not enough bodies to go round, a lucrative black market has emerged.
Right in about this area there was a pallet that had a torso that was laid out on it de-frosting.
And there are some people who will do almost anything to get their hands on your body.
A gentleman said we have some of your son's body parts at our morgue.
I said my son Jim died over a year ago.
I don't know what you're talking about.
New York.
America's beating heart.
It was on these streets in 2006 that the latest chapter in the story of the American underworld came to light.
It was the last story uncovered by one of THE great journalists, Alistair Cooke.
Good evening.
It used to be liquor, bootleg liquor, that made vast illegal fortunes for underworld characters in Chicago.
For nearly 60 years, his weekly Letters From America provided an outsider's view of the events that shaped the United States.
The eyes of Al Capone, his buddies and his rivals.
His last scoop was remarkable for two reasons.
First, because he became part of the story himself.
And second, because he was already dead.
In March 2004, just weeks after recording his last Letter From America, Alistair Cooke died.
He was 95 years old and had been Susan Cooke-Kittredge is his daughter.
I sought a direct cremation and hired a New York mortuary to perform the cremation and come and collect his body upon his death, which they did.
And it didn't occur to me that this was something of which I needed to be wary.
What happened to Alistair Cooke's body in the funeral home would become part of a body snatching scandal that would rock the country.
The charges are chilling and they come as a shock to folks in this neighbourhood.
The conduct uncovered in this case is among the most repulsive imaginable.
Prosecutors said it was like something from a cheap horror movie.
Four men were charged with harvesting bones and tissue from bodies in a funeral home.
Alistair Cooke was just one of over 1,000 people whose bodies were chopped up and sold on.
He would have certainly been intrigued by this story.
He would have appreciated the sort of Dickensian smoke and grave robber essence of what was going on.
But had he ever imagined that it would happen to him, he would have been horrified.
Grave robbing is nothing new.
People have been making a living stealing and selling bodies for 300 years.
The Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh houses some of the world's oldest anatomical specimens.
Some of the exhibits date from the early 18th century.
They are a record of how early anatomists mapped the interior geography of the human body.
But to do this work, doctors needed a supply of corpses and they were prepared to pay handsomely to get them.
It was obviously important to get fresh bodies, so the bodies had to be supplied very soon after they had been put in the grave.
During the 1820s, the cost was variously between ã7-10, ordinarily, for a body.
There was a recorded case of ã25 being given.
And to compare that in some ways, a labourer at that time would be earning just sixpence a week.
Given the economics, it's little wonder it led to grave robbery.
Resurrectionists, as they were known, provided freshly dug-up corpses to doctors who were prepared to turn a blind eye to where they came from.
The practice went on for over 100 years until, in 1827, two Irishmen living in Edinburgh, William Burke and William Hare, took grave robbery to its natural conclusion.
Burke and Hare stumbled into the body trade by accident.
A lodger of Hare's died owing rent and they reckoned the only way to get their money back was to take the body to the anatomists.
So they were given over ã7 and that was an absolute fortune.
This was going to be a really lucrative trade for them to get involved with.
Seeing the opportunity, Burke and Hare took matters into their own hands.
They murdered 16 people.
When they were caught, it caused uproar.
As a piece of poetic justice, you might say, Burke was executed but his body was to be dissected for public anatomical benefit and some say it was actually the professor of anatomy who took his skin and had it made into souvenir pocket books and wallets.
The Burke and Hare case spelled the end for the Resurrectionists.
In response, the Anatomy Act was passed.
It gave doctors the right to dissect unclaimed bodies and anyone who couldn't afford a funeral.
And once the medical schools had a free supply of cadavers, the bottom fell out of the grave robbing business.
A similar system is in place today.
Medical schools around the world still get a free supply of bodies.
But now, rather than the destitute and unclaimed, most of the bodies come from people who willingly donate their remains.
People like Robert Block.
I met him at the University of Iowa when I was working on my PhD there and we dated for about ten years, had a long distance relationship when I took my first job at University of Rhode Island and finally decided to get married when I moved back here to the mid-west.
So we were only married for about six and a half years.
He had an unexpected heart attack, woke me up at four o'clock in the morning, said I don't feel well and he died eventually of a bloodstream infection about three weeks later in the intensive care ward.
After his death, Robert Block's body was donated to the University of Minnesota medical school.
He couldn't imagine having some kind of elaborate funeral and having any big fuss made over him after he was dead so this seemed like a very simple solution to him to just donate his body and be done with it.
For Marjorie Moore, the decision to donate her husband's body was about more than avoiding the fuss of a traditional funeral.
As an anatomy teacher in these same laboratories for 20 years, she knows how important cadavers are in understanding the living body.
When you look at a textbook, it's perfect anatomy.
That's a 20-year-old standard male who's healthy and you don't get to see the pathologies, you don't get to see the range of sizes.
They just don't convey the three dimensions that you can see on a cadaver.
Over the past 15 years, the use of cadavers has increased dramatically.
One of the most rapidly growing areas is in the development of new surgical tools and techniques.
The Wolfson Surgical Skills Centre in the London branch of the Royal College of Surgeons is a brand new multi-million pound training facility.
It's fitted out exactly like any other operating theatre .
except that all the patients here are already dead.
OK, so we're in the wrist there now.
That's the radius, above us is the scaphoid.
In the past, surgeons learnt their trade on live patients, before having a go themselves.
But modern surgical techniques are increasingly complicated.
Keyhole surgery involves performing complex operations through tiny incisions.
Mastering these skills requires hands-on practice.
There are certain techniques that you cannot learn from textbooks or just by observing someone else, that you actually have to learn the techniques by physically doing them, getting that 3-D spatial awareness.
Initially when you do it, you can be quite damaging, which is why it's probably not a good idea to do it on patients, live patients, and cadavers are very forgiving because if you damage them, it doesn't really matter.
These sessions allow surgeons to learn and share techniques that will go on to benefit hundreds of living patients.
So I would do an Eton Liftler plus a Burton-Pellegrini and I tell you, they are so stable.
Through there and then back on itself But in Britain, where the use of human tissue is tightly regulated, it was illegal for surgeons to practice on cadavers until 2006.
Many surgeons feel it has held back the development of surgery in this country.
Well, the Americans, they've been able to do this sort of surgery on cadavers for many, many years and it's allowed many surgeons to be able to develop new techniques, advanced knowledge which we've not been able to do in this country and so I think we've been disadvantaged for many years.
There are now plans for all British surgeons to train on cadavers in facilities like these.
But for that to happen, they're going to need many more bodies than are currently donated to medical science.
In contemplating how to solve the supply issue, British surgeons may want to draw a comparison with the situation in America.
When surgeons here need body parts, they can come to a company like the Anatomy Gifts Registry in Baltimore, one of a growing number of commercial businesses that deal in human bodies.
Brent Bardsley is their chief operations officer.
This is our donor activity board.
This represents all the cases that we've had in the last several days so we have the statistics on the donors themselves, their age, their race and then of course their cause of death.
Some of them self-inflicted, other ones are cardiac-related but by and large a majority of the cases are cancer-related.
People afflicted with cancer are generally not eligible for donating for transplantation so this is a way for the donors and their families to experience some positive element out of the tragic circumstance of a long illness and the death itself.
Buying and selling bodies is illegal.
So companies like AGR rely on persuading people of the benefits of body donation.
'Anatomy Gifts Registry is a non-profit corporation that 'provides a no-cost alternative to traditional funeral service.
'Anatomy Gifts Registry, leave your impression on mankind.
' Human beings have a desire to help one another out, they really do, so there's an altruistic aspect to the donation process.
In addition there's also a financial aspect.
We are a programme that offers these services to the public at no cost.
It enables families just to not experience the traditional costs associated with final disposition, a $5,000 or $6,000 funeral, a $20-25,000 traditional cemetery interment with service.
So there's a financial aspect but it is an anatomical gift.
We're asking the family to donate without expectation of financial reward.
AGR are not allowed to sell the bodies either.
But the demand is for body parts, not whole cadavers, and the company can charge service fees for handling and disarticulating the bodies.
in over a dozen different parts, which can be sent all over the world.
The fee AGR charge for each specimen is a reflection of how difficult it is to prepare.
A forearm and hand for use in surgical practice is relatively easy to prepare and is just $383.
While a more complicated shoulder joint is $510.
A complete head for practising brain surgery costs less than a separate skull that needs to be stripped of tissue and skin.
A full torso with organs inside costs less than one with the organs removed .
while extracting and preparing a spine is so difficult, it costs nearly $1,000.
Just to cover their costs, the Anatomy Gift Registry need to make up to $6,000 from each body.
There is some controversy associated with the disarticulating of a body.
Is the family aware that so many specimens are going out for so many different applications? In actuality this is the very same promise that we give to the family, that we're going to try to serve as many medical applications as possible from each donation.
So although it's deemed grisly, it's necessary.
The body trade is a growth industry.
The Anatomy Gift Registry's business is increasing by over 50% a year.
But even though the freezers in their warehouse are full of stock, they still can't keep up with their order book.
for human tissue, for all types of research.
We are obtaining between 40 and 60 bodies per month.
With the number of applications that we have, we'd like to be able to satisfy three times that amount.
The tissue broking business in the United States is booming.
There are dozens of legitimate traders across the country but not all the dealers are above board and, with almost no regulation on who can enter the business, there is plenty of scope for rogue operators.
New York journalist Annie Cheney has spent years investigating the body trade.
Anybody can become a tissue broker.
All you need is a freezer, a few saws, some other tools and an account with a shipping company, and you're in business.
All you have to do is figure out where you're going to get your bodies and there is an unlimited number of people, it seems, who are willing to provide them with or without consent from the families.
In December 2001, Joyce Zamazanok lost her 45-year-old son, Jim Farrilee, after a long battle with AIDS.
Jim and I did talk about him donating his body and they told him it couldn't be done because AIDS had taken its toll.
You know, there was just It just, it wouldn't work.
Unable to donate his body, Jim opted to be cremated and had his ashes buried in the desert.
A year later, as Joyce was putting it all behind her, she got a call out of the blue.
It was February 4th, 2002.
It was not a good day for me, an emotional day for me, and the phone rang and this young woman's voice said, "I have to tell you that we have some of your son's body parts "at our morgue," and I'm saying, "What?" I could not comprehend what she was saying at all.
I mean, it just, like, didn't even I said, "My son Jim died over a year ago.
"I don't know what you're talking about.
" The call had come from Riverside County, California.
Police had been called to a local crematorium where they'd made a gruesome discovery.
District Attorney Vicky Hightower was among the first to visit the scene.
When we first came up to this area, we discovered the boxes, similar to these boxes here, several of which were seized by the sheriff's department as part of their investigation.
And then there was also right about, if I remember right, in about this area, there was a pallet that had a torso that was laid out on it de-frosting.
There were also five to seven freezers and when they were opened, there were body parts that had been disarticulated and wrapped in cellophane basically with numbering systems on them in the different freezers.
There were heads, knees, some whole torsos.
The crematorium owner, Michael Brown, had set up a lucrative sideline as a tissue broker.
Initially, he started a legitimate tissue supply company with a professional sounding name, Biotech Anatomical.
People donated their bodies which were dismembered in the embalming room, stored in these freezers and sold on to whoever wanted them.
Michael Brown's customers were medical device companies, they were surgeons, they were medical schools.
They ordered knees, they ordered shoulders, they ordered torsos, not one but five at a time, six at a time and the orders were for thousands of dollars.
The money was good.
At $5,000 per corpse, he was earning four times what he could from just cremating the bodies.
But the orders coming in were far in excess of the number of donors .
so Brown started to use bodies that hadn't been donated.
One of the victims was Jim Farrilee.
His knees were found in one of the freezers.
I kept saying, "But you don't understand, Jim had AIDS.
"Did they know he had AIDS? They can't use his body parts.
" What would they do with them? What about the people that disarticulated his body, that removed whatever body parts they had, what about them? Jim would just, he would be mortified if he thought he'd passed this disease on to anyone else.
In a little under two years, Michael Brown had made nearly half a million dollars.
It was easy money.
All he needed to do to hide his crime was provide the victims' families with an urn of ashes.
There's no way to tell from the ashes you get from a crematorium what's in them, whether it's a cat, whether it's your mother, whether it's all of your mother, whether it's part of your mother.
And the people who went to pick up the cremains at Michael Brown's crematory had no idea what was in the urns.
They assumed that it was their loved one.
They had no idea that what they were getting was the leftovers of their loved one plus the leftovers of everybody else that Michael Brown had chopped up and sold off.
If Michael Brown hadn't been turned in by a spurned lover, his crimes would probably never have been detected.
Even when the police were called in, they couldn't be sure how many bodies he'd mutilated.
We actually were comfortable charging, that we thought we could prove beyond a reasonable doubt, 113 victims.
that we weren't comfortable charging as a crime.
In 2003, Michael Brown pleaded guilty to embezzlement and illegal dissection.
He was jailed for 20 years.
And Joyce was finally re-united with the real ashes of her son.
I finally got him back and they're sitting in a pretty red urn but he is here and I know where he is.
I know where his parts are and I know they're his.
I feel they're his.
While the trade in body parts for medical training and research is a rapidly growing and lucrative business, it's not where the big money lies.
The secret to unlocking the real value of human bodies lies in another field.
Tissue for transplant.
Every year millions of people around the world have their bodies repaired using spare parts taken from the dead.
It's become a billion dollar industry and is growing fast.
Lauren Davies has come to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary to have surgery on her damaged knee ligaments.
When I was 14 I was in the youth club with my friend and we were sitting on a ledge.
We were just mucking about and somebody just nudged me and that was me, you know.
I was right off and landed really horribly on my knee and the ligament in the back of my knee was severely ruptured.
Lauren will be operated on by orthopaedic surgeon Richard Nutton who will replace her damaged ligament with a spare part taken from a cadaver.
Now her main problem is that she has very significant abnormal movement of her knee.
When one of the crucial ligaments is ruptured, the knee slips backwards like that and when she walks, the knee tends to do this all the time.
This is why she feels very unstable.
To repair the knee, the surgeons will implant an Achilles tendon taken from the ankle of a donor who died some months previously.
It's not practical to transplant somebody else's posterior crucial ligament.
It's too short and we use the Achilles tendon because it's very strong and it's the right length so in many ways it's the ideal graft for this situation.
The beauty of using human tissue is that it will eventually fuse into the recipient's body.
Over time, Lauren's own cells will grow along the collagen fibres in the graft until it becomes an almost indistinguishable part of her own body.
The operation itself starts by using an endoscope to remove all the damaged tissue from inside the knee.
We're actually working right on the very back of the knee which is relatively inaccessible.
Holes have been drilled for the tibia and femur, creating a canal for the tendon to fit through.
That's it.
We're now going to put this, the graft on the end of the wire, pull the wire down and that should pull the graft through the knee.
There's the graft going through the knee joint now.
Once in place, the ends of the tendon are secured with screws, instantly stabilising the knee joint.
That looks good.
Graft now in place, and as an effect of putting that graft in, it doesn't do this wobbling backwards and forwards any more.
It's now good and stable.
Operations like this using tissue from the dead are becoming ever more common, and advances in surgery have meant that there are more and more body parts that can now be transplanted from deceased donors to living patients.
Corneas can restore sight to the blind.
Heart valves are transplanted to treat cardiac disease.
Skin is made into a natural dressing to treat burns.
Saphenous veins from the legs are used in bypass surgery.
Tendons are used to repair damaged joints, and bone grafts from a single donor can end up in over 80 living patients.
In the United States, 1.
5 million tissue transplant operations are performed each year.
It's created an enormous demand for tissue that needs to be met.
Baron Cohen and his team work for One Legacy.
It's a non-profit organisation in Los Angeles that co-ordinates both organ and tissue donations for use in transplants.
It's ten at night and they've been called to Orange County Coroners Office to recover tissue from a donor who died just 12 hours ago.
While organs for transplant need to be recovered while the heart is still beating, tissue can be usefully collected up to 24 hours after death.
implanted into living patients, the whole operation has to take place in the most sterile conditions.
We have to go above and beyond, when it comes to cleanliness and when I say above and beyond, I even mean above and beyond how surgeons would do a regular surgery on a live patient.
Because if infection is passed from a donor tissue to a recipient, that tissue bank could be put out of business for ever.
The first tissue to be removed is the skin, which is taken in strips from the chest, back and legs.
Although One Legacy provide the tissue at cost price, much of it will be used by commercial tissue processors, who will transform it into saleable clinical products.
A single donor can produce two and a half square feet of skin, which can be turned into product worth as much as $30,000.
Next to be removed are the bones from the legs.
That's the most amazing part about tissue making, is that you can't be racist when you're a tissue maker, cos every single person, no matter what their skin colour is, looks just like this.
In skilled hands, every tissue, including the bones, can be extracted using nothing more robust than a single scalpel blade.
A skeleton that has borne the body round for a lifetime can be dismantled in a matter of minutes.
Once sterilised and processed, a full set of leg bones can be worth as much as $20,000.
You know, I'm not a surgeon, I can't put my hands on someone and save their life, but the work that I do will help the surgeons save someone's life.
I find it very rewarding, every day.
It's in tissue-for-transplant that the body's real financial value lies.
Corneas can fetch $6,000 a pair.
Heart valves are $7,000 a piece.
Saphenous veins are worth $10,000 a metre, and tendons $1,000 each.
If every useful bit could be recovered, processed and sold for its maximum value, the proceeds from a single body could be $250,000.
With so much money on offer, perhaps it's little wonder that the abuse of bodies is so widespread.
Todd Olson is an anatomy professor in New York, who's become concerned about the dangers inherent in the black market trade in bodies.
Any professional environment where there is access to dead bodies, whether it be at a funeral home, hospital, morgue .
there is an opportunity for unscrupulous individuals who are offered enough money to break their professional standards and to steal material to be sold.
One of the people attracted to the money was former society dentist Michael Mastromarino.
Michael Mastromarino was an oral surgeon who appeared to have a very successful practice in New Jersey.
He got into drugs, his licence to practice as a surgeon was suspended.
He had a very nice lifestyle that he needed to keep up and so he went into the body parts business.
In 2002, Mastromarino had set up a company, Biomedical Tissue Services, to procure and sell human tissue for use in transplants.
All he then needed was a cheap and reliable supply of bodies for which, like all good grave robbers, he turned to the funeral business and they were only too happy to help.
Funeral directors get involved in this business because they have easy access to corpses and when somebody comes along and says, "Hey, if you send some bodies my way, I'll give you $1,000 for each one," I think you're going to find that a lot of funeral directors will say, "Yes".
Before long, he had a network of over 30 funeral parlours between New York and Philadelphia prepared to let him chop up the bodies in their care.
It still surprises me that amongst the many phone calls that must have been made to set up this network, no-one was sufficiently outraged that they called the police.
That says something to me.
The tissue recovery operation was, to all appearances, above board.
In one of the funeral homes, Mastromarino even installed an operating theatre to maintain sterile conditions, and he hired qualified mortuary technicians to perform the operations.
The useful bits - the bones, the tendons and skin - were removed and packaged up.
Bodies destined to be buried were reconstructed with PVC plumbing pipe.
When they were exhumed, X-rays provided ample evidence of the body snatcher's handiwork.
Perhaps the most amazing thing was that all this was going on under the noses of the authority responsible for policing medical products, the Food And Drug Administration.
The FDA found out that he was harvesting tissue in the back rooms of funeral homes.
Did they think to ask whether that was a good idea? No.
Their main concern was, is the back room of the funeral home sterile? Has it been cleaned up enough? They were not concerned about whether these bodies were being stolen.
They never asked that question - and that's how he got away with it for so long.
Over four years, Mastromarino made nearly $5 million from stealing the parts of over 1,000 bodies.
One of them was Alistair Cooke.
The tissue was sold to processing companies, who turned it into sterile medical products.
The biggest recipient was a company called Regeneration Technologies.
They needed a reliable source of bones to turn into surgical implants.
And Michael Mastromarino was offering a plentiful supply, all of which came with paperwork giving consent from the next of kin.
Unfortunately, as Alistair Cooke's case shows, the paperwork wasn't always accurate.
His social security number was wrong, his name was spelled incorrectly.
His age was incorrect.
The fact that Mastromarino says that he interviewed me was a blatant lie.
I'm trying to think of anything on the record that was right.
He was male and his last name was Cooke.
But Mastromarino's biggest deception was that he was forging the details of the deceased's health.
It meant that potentially diseased tissue was being supplied for use in medical implants.
Alistair Cooke died of lung cancer that had spread to his bones.
The paperwork said he was cancer-free and that he had died of a heart attack.
If I needed some bone put into my body to make me stronger, the last bones that I want are probably going to be the ones from my father.
He was 95 years old, he was very, very frail and he had bone cancer.
Now it's my understanding that I can't contract cancer from those bones, but those aren't gonna do me a lot of good.
According to Regeneration Technologies, Cooke's bones were never processed or used to make implants.
But by the time the body snatching ring was smashed, more than 25,000 products made from the stolen bones had been distributed all round the world.
Many of them had been implanted into living patients.
I couldn't imagine what people would be feeling if they had been recipients of tissue or bones of questionable origin.
How would you get away from yourself fast enough? You'd just want to start running and never stop.
So these are the people I think who are the real victims, and who have a sort of road before them I can't imagine.
One of those people was Timothy Thacker.
After a motorcycle accident, he had two discs in his neck replaced with what he thought were synthetic replacements, until ten months later, when he got a phone call from the hospital.
She made a statement that they had recalled the disc in my neck.
I wasn't as overly worried about that.
I just asked, "What are you going to do, replace them?" And she said, "No, we can't replace them," and went on to further explain that I did not get synthetics, that they had put human tissue in my neck and it couldn't be replaced.
It was later I found out from the newspaper that the parts had been stolen.
But worse was to come.
The FDA, afraid that the grafts may have been carrying diseases, were recommending blood tests for all the recipients.
When you start telling me, you know, you may have affected me with gonorrhoea and syphilis and hepatitis A, B, C or herpes or numerous other things, I'm ready to strangle you.
Honestly, if I could have reached through that phone I believe I would have took her head off.
Timothy Thacker's blood tests were positive for hepatitis B.
Given that his blood tests before the operation were clear, Timothy believes the graft was responsible.
This form of hepatitis is dormant.
For now, Timothy is healthy, but at any time in the future the virus may flare up and destroy his liver.
I fear for the future because I don't know what it holds.
I don't know whether it'll stay dormant, I don't know whether it'll rear ahead like that dragon and bite me in the throat.
I mean is if I have we found it to be in my wife or one of my children or my grandchild.
I mean that, that would track back to me.
Regeneration Technologies stands by the safety of its sterilisation processes, and says that it's impossible for their grafts to transmit disease.
But that does not extinguish the risks that Mastromarino took with public health.
(REPORTER) Can you tell us why you did this? In January of this year, Michael Mastromarino pleaded guilty to stealing the bodies and falsifying the paperwork.
They found that relatives of only one of the 1,077 deceased had consented to the harvesting of their loved ones.
He's now facing a jail term of up to 54 years.
It is possible though that exposing these villains might be doing more harm than good.
In all of these cases, there's a tremendously negative effect.
I think it really sends a bad message to people who might otherwise choose to donate to a legitimate tissue bank, and I think after a scandal like this, they're much less willing to do that.
So it's damaging to many, many different people.
If fewer people donate their bodies, and there's not enough tissue available to doctors, we all stand to suffer from the consequences.
And in an unregulated market, lower donation rates create a vicious circle.
When a legitimate supply of body parts decreases, it forces prices higher, increasing the rewards for corruption and encouraging yet more profiteers to enter the body supply business.
The more the stories come out, the more people are forced to realise that it is happening a lot more frequently, the more they are going to look, the more questions they are going to ask, and I believe they are going to find that activities similar to ones that we've seen are in fact happening more often and in more places.
so people know that it's going on but no-one wants to talk about it, just as people know that they're going to die but they don't really want to talk about it.
Society has to address the problem and has to recognise that we need the tissue.
We want someone else to donate it.
Well, it's not all going to come from someone else.
It's going to come from us.
It's going to come from your sister and your brother and your mother and your father, and that's the grass roots conversation that has to happen.
All body parts, even body parts that are stolen, are used for good reason.
So there's never a question about whether the purpose is good.
There's simply a question about whether the system that is supplying them is appropriately regulated.
But there is a solution to the problem that would ensure a plentiful supply of human tissue, and that would squeeze the suspect dealers out of the market.
And that is for many more people to donate their bodies when they die.
Could you thwart this whole crime by increasing the supply enormously, by having everyone donate their bodies? It would shut it down I think right away.
You'd The capitalist mechanism would stop.
You flood the market, there's no demand.
The price drops way down.
There's no profit to be made.
It wouldn't be hard to increase the number of donations.
In the Western world, fewer than 1% of the population is signed up to donate their bodies after their deaths.
All it needs is a change in attitude, for people to see body donation as a realistic alternative to a funeral.
In Minnesota, the University's anatomy department is hosting their annual donor remembrance service to thank the families of those who gave their bodies to train their students.
For Marjorie Moore, the service is doubly poignant.
She donated her husband's body and she knows that before long she will become a donor herself.
I've been diagnosed with terminal cancer and I've been given a prognosis of approximately two years.
I want to go on teaching anatomy even after I'm dead.
And for others who know about the body trade, the decision to donate is also an easy one.
Organ and body donation is a personal choice and so I think that's why I found what Mr Brown did so offensive, because he shouldn't be able to take that choice away from people.
It's maybe a spiritual thing but I figure where I'm going I don't need it, so I made the choice to donate my organs and my body when I die.
Development and the evolution of new surgical instrumentation and new surgical techniques, families can be a part of this.
It's something tangible that they can see and yes, I will be donating my body.
Oh, I would donate my body in an instant.
I believe that donation is a great thing, so I think people should continue to donate and they shouldn't stop donating because there are problems in the system.
Hopefully if things change, some of these brokers will disappear and go into other businesses like selling used cars or something like that.
It's an equivalent business in my mind.
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