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An elderly widow said she never gave consent for her husband's body to be dissected in a ticketed event where spectators paid at least $100 (£75) to watch her husband's remains undergo a "formal autopsy".
“It’s horrible what has happened to my husband,” said a shocked Elsie Saunders, while speaking of her late husband,
David Saunders died at 98 in late August from complications of COVID-19.
Although the disgusted woman had agreed to donate her husband's body for research, she says she had no clue that it would involve a spectator event with paying customers of over $500 to see her husband dissected.
“I didn’t know he was going to be put on display like a performing bear or something,” Saunders said.
“I only consented to body donations for scientific purposes. That’s the way my husband wanted it. To say the least, I’m upset.”
Saunders, a 92-year-old from Louisiana, said she last saw her husband when he died at a hospital and his body was taken to a funeral home, 7 News reports.
A representative with the funeral home reportedly declined a request by NBC for comment on Wednesday.
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The body was then obtained by a company called Med Ed Labs, according to company manager Obteen Nassiri.
Med Ed Labs' website describes itself on its website as working with medical device companies for medical and surgical research, education and training.
Nassiri claimed that Saunders' family did not give permission for his company to obtain the body and use it for medical purposes.
And that's what Nassiri said the company believed it was doing when it traded Saunders' body to another company.
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The company in question, Death Science, was the promoter of a show in Portland that used Saunders' body in an event as part its Oddities and Curiosities Expo, NBC affiliate KING in Seattle reported.
The man's body was displayed in the ballroom of a Portland Marriott hotel ballroom as members of the paying audience sat just inches away from the autopsy table.
“We didn’t know about the Curiosity Expo at all,” Nassiri said.
”I would not be involved in anything like that.”
But a representative with Death Science said that Med Ed Labs and Nassiri partnered in the event last month in Portland.
“Med Ed Labs was aware of the course,” the company said in an email.
“Death Science partnered with Med Ed Labs and it was in direct contact with Med Ed Lab, specifically, Obteen Nassiri for multiple months leading up to the course, including, but not limited to, the fact that attendees are not exclusively medical students and ticket sales”.
Death Science describes itself as an “educational company specialising in the promotion of in-person and online courses, events, and seminars related to death science for the general public and industry professionals".
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Spectators paid between $100 to $500 and about 70 people attended, according to a spokesman.
A police spokesperson said there were "no criminal laws which directly speak to such circumstances” over the use of the body.
Nassiri on Wednesday said he has apologised to Saunders’ widow and claimed his company should have done more to what Death Science had planned for the body.
“We should have been more arduous and done more investigative research to find out exactly what they were doing,” he said.
Nassiri said his company now has possession of David Saunders’ body.
He said he expects the body to be cremated and returned to his family in the “short future.”
- In the News
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