Medical museum embroiled in brouhaha over bequeathed body parts

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Note: if anyone at the Mütter museum ever asks you to lend them a hand, it’s probably safest to decline.


In the UK the Human Tissue Licensing Authority provides a structured framework for consents relating to display and ownership of human remains, which removes any of this ambiguity. I used to manage compliance for UK exhibitions of Gunter von Hagens’ Body Worlds exhibitions and found it a very good system. It also deals with anatomy schools, hospitals, funeral homes and so on - the US could save a lot of grief with a similar licensing system. For one thing it would stop the periodic funeral home horrors that come to light where bodies have not been dealt with respectfully and left to rot and would make it easy for anatomy museums to accept specimens with clear consent conditions attached. If someone wanted to give a UK anatomy collection a fibroid, they could do so and stipulate that it could be used for public display and everyone would be clear on its status.


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