The widow of a victim of Covid-19 is horrified and outraged upon discovering his body was dissected in front of a paying audience in Portland, Oregon.
98 -year-old World War II veteran David Saunders passed away in August of this year.
Saunders' widow, Elsie, turned to funeral director Mike Clark to handle Saunders' body. With Mrs. Saunders' approval, Clark gave Saunders' body to Med Ed Labs, a for-profit, Las Vegas based company, with the belief his cadaver would be used for medical research purposes.
They both learned this was not the case from a previous investigation by King 5 News.
Seattle's King 5 News reported on the horrifying story.
Instead, the body was sold to be part of "The Oddities & Curiosities Expo" at the Portland Marriott, with tickets selling for $500 each
The "Cadaver Class" as it was called was organized by a group known as Death Science, who's mission, according to their website, is to educate people on "scientific fields and topics that relate to the deceased."
Death Science also has a TikTok page with over 1 million followers.
The event page promised its attendees would have the opportunity to "get an up close and personal look at the cadaver" while guided by medical professionals.
Clark expressed his outrage to
King 5 News upon learning what had happened to Saunders' body, feeling he had been badly misled by Med Ed Labs.
"It makes me really feel saddened that this gentleman was not given the dignity and the respect that he deserved and what he thought and his family thought that would be happening to his body."
"I was totally horrified, our whole staff was horrified that this is what had happened to a gentleman that he and his family thought that his body was going for the advancement of medical students."
Viewers on YouTube were equally horrified anyone would dissect a human body as a form of entertainment and people would pay to see it.
"I'd be furious and I hope all responsible are sued and lose. As well I am changing my body's donor status as you can't trust people today." - killing it
"Absolutely horrifying and so incredibly wrong and disgusting … shame on all involved. They should all be sued." - S Garrita1
"Who would pay to see some mess like that?" - twin Gordon
"Excellent reporting. Thank you for shedding light on this awful event."
"The world is losing its mind and the fact that all of the participants clearly find such behavior okay is disturbing." - elr882.
"This is disgusting how this sort of thing has been done. The hotel and the hospital and the people watching should all be held accountable and compensate the family and people need to be jailed"- SRSpoony
"This is so disgusting and disturbing. Folks are weird." - R Oki
"This is so unethical it's sickening." - EggMine
"Why, why, why would someone want to see that?" - reavleeful
Others expressed their disbelief and disgust on Twitter as the story gained more attention.
Clark said he and Saunders' widow donated the body with the belief it would be used expressly for medical research.
Both stated they would never have consented to how it was eventually used.
Death Science founder Jeremy Ciliberto, however, claimed Saunders' family did give consent.
He told King 5 News:
"I can guarantee that that man knew his body would be used for medical research."
But people wondered how many would consider a very expensive ticketed public hotel event geared toward non-medical professionals "medical research."
Obteen Nassiri, an administrator for Med Ed Labs, also claimed Ciliberto had been "beyond dishonest" in how his company was planning on using Saunders' body:
"We do not engage the donors' bodies in any kind of shows [like Saunders' body] was involved with."
"We don't do anything like that."
A simple web search revealed Ciliberto has no medical credentials.
Med Ed Labs and Ciliberto are also accused of overlooking the fact Saunders died of Covid-19. Attendees were at various times invited to closely examine, even touch the body, possibly exposing themselves.
Death Science reportedly sent an
email out to all attendees, encouraging them to get tested and claiming they were unaware Saunders died of Covid-19.
"This was not something that we anticipated, as Med Ed Labs should have provided this information to us directly and we would not have proceeded further if this information would have been provided."
According to the CDC, the risk of an infection from a cadaver is low.
Saunders' widow, Elsie, subsequently spoke with King 5 News, expressing her disgust and thanking them for uncovering the story.
"Oh, I think it is reprehensible, I think that this—they are using my husband's body like he's a performing bear or something."
"You're totally helpless when you don't know what's happened."
"And I didn't—I had no idea what happened until you communicated it with me."
Mrs. Saunders also revealed her husband had previously registered to donate his body to medical research at Louisiana State University, but the university was prohibited from taking his body owing to the fact he died of Covid-19.
Death Science and The Oddities & Curiosities Expo had planned another live autopsy on Halloween night in Seattle, Washington but the event was cancelled following King 5 News' initial report.
Clark is currently at work locating Saunders' husband's remains to have them cremated and returned to Mrs. Saunders, free of charge.