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The Real Body Snatchers

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the something-macabre-for-your-morning dept.

Medicine 280

An anonymous reader writes "The BBC are reporting on a grisly trade lying behind the booming business for replacement body parts in medical procedures. Many unscrupulous "dealers" will procure body parts from anyone willing to deal them — e.g., undertakers, medics — and will process them for resale onto legitimate companies. Apparently a fully processed cadaver can fetch up to $250,000. Now, who says I'm worth more alive than dead?"

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280 comments

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Attention teenage single mothers (5, Funny)

Malevolent Tester (1201209) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794512)

Want to own your own home instead of leeching one off the taxpayer? Apply inside. $250,000 could be yours.

I don't get the big deal.... (4, Insightful)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794516)

I honestly don't get the big deal with this. Now myself I am religious, but when I'm dead. I'm dead. And unless we figure out how to freeze people then revive them, this doesn't seem like a big deal. You get your grave for people to remember you, and your organs are put to good use. Seems like a fair trade to me.

Re:I don't get the big deal.... (1)

duguk (589689) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794574)

Agreed, I've tried to look into seeing if my body could be worth something after I'm dead (I doubt it), but is there some system for this? Some extreme donor card perhaps?

Anyone know how you might get into this - as stock, not an employee...

DugUK

Re:I don't get the big deal.... (1)

Corf (145778) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794588)

Carve me up and part me out. As long as it isn't before my time, I'm totally fine with that. A last bit of altruism, I guess, that doesn't even cost me anything.

Re:I don't get the big deal.... (1)

chikanamakalaka (218733) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795080)

If it is before your time, why would anybody want your organs?

Re:I don't get the big deal.... (5, Informative)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794604)

I honestly don't get the big deal with this.


The issue isn't that your body parts shouldn't be used to help someone else, the issue is that these folks were simply taking the parts, or the entire body, without the permission of either the deceased or their families. Essentially, they were grave robbers without the grave.

It comes down to consent. Think of it as an extended form or Opt-in. Unless you specifically say you want your parts to go to someone else, they stay with you.

Then of course there are the whole host of religious issues which don't need to be discussed but should be mentioned in relation to the above reason.

Re:I don't get the big deal.... (3, Informative)

ajcham (1179959) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794986)

Having watched the BBC documentary, the bigger issue is that of the use of diseased or otherwise unsuitable bodies. For instance one guy they spoke to contracted Hepatitis from an illegally supplied transplant.

Re:I don't get the big deal.... (5, Informative)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795060)

The grave robbers in this case stole parts from people who died of hepatitus, HIV, and other highly-contagious and deadly diseases. Setting aside concern for the family of the dead; think about the living who receive bone implants from an AIDS victim.

Re:I don't get the big deal.... (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795260)

The standard procedure is to check the implant before the transplantation. It surely will be checked for obvious infections like hepatitis and HIV.

Re:I don't get the big deal.... (1)

Deep Orange (1137297) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795118)

You are all missing half of the problem with this. Organ banks and Hospitals all have procedures for harvesting good, clean organs that will be both viable and healthy. I'm thinking that the mortuary's and other organ thieves may not be quite so scrupulous about cleanliness and if the future new owner of the organ will be better off with something that was half dead when it was taken from the "Donor". If I'm unfortunate enough to be in sudden need of some random organ I would very much like to have one that will do me some good and not a rotten hunk of flesh that someone carved out and sold for fun and profit.

You think it's no big deal (-1, Troll)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794630)

But this isn't just happening to dead people. There are gangs that prowl the club scene looking for young adults who they can steal organs from. My cousin went to school with a guy that this happened to. He went dancing at the club near the university (in NYC) and chatting it up with some random skank when the next thing he realizes is that he's in the emergency room of Mt Sinai hooked up to an IV and a terrible throbbing in his back. The doctor told him that someone had removed his left kidney. There's a lot of money to be made in providing fresh organs from young people. He was a hapless victim.

Swear to god. You think taking your shit after you die is bad, but the real threat is getting harvested by these organ gangs.

Sure sure... (3, Funny)

keineobachtubersie (1244154) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794698)

"My cousin went to school with a guy that this happened to."

Are you sure it wasn't your cousin's mother's sister's uncle?

Re:You think it's no big deal (4, Funny)

kalirion (728907) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794794)

You forgot to mention that he woke up in a tub full of ice.

Re:You think it's no big deal (0)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794882)

He woke up in the hospital. Was that not clear?

Re:You think it's no big deal (1)

Deadstick (535032) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795014)

Whooossshhhh...

rj

Re:You think it's no big deal (3, Informative)

Applekid (993327) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794844)

It is officially now a race to produce a link to Snopes [snopes.com] discussing kidney thieves.

Re:I don't get the big deal.... (2, Informative)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794632)

Personally I agree, but it's worth remembering that the term "religious" covers a whole lot of ground. While my own faith has no problem with stripping me for parts, rolling what's left up in a newspaper, and chucking it from the window of a speeding truck, someone else's beliefs may assign much more importance to leaving an intact corpse. Consent and proper procedure is important for this sort of thing.

Oh, thanks a lot... (3, Funny)

the_fat_kid (1094399) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795082)

Now I have to change my will.

Let's see:
Organ donor card? check.
Sunday NY times? check.
1994 jeep cherokee? check.
road map of my nations capitol with dump sites marked? check.

All right, I'm ready for the end, when it comes.

"I'm not affraid of dieing. Ijust don't want to be there when it happens."

Re:I don't get the big deal.... (5, Insightful)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794662)

I honestly don't get the big deal with this.

I did RTFA, so the big deal isn't the sale or use of bodies or their parts per se, but the fraudulent and criminal means by which they are obtained.

One example given was the crematorium owner in California who charged a woman for the cremation of her son. He gave her an urn of furnace scrapings and turned around and sold the parts of the man's body, keeping the unsold inventory in freezers in the attic of the funeral home. That's fraud. One could argue that it doesn't really matter whose cremains you receive, but it's still fraud even if you don't know you're being duped. Actually, it's fraud especially if you don't know you've been duped.

Re:I don't get the big deal.... (2, Interesting)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794804)

keeping the unsold inventory in freezers in the attic of the funeral home.

Sounds unlikely to me: freezing destroys the cells. That's why transplantations are time critical.

Re:I don't get the big deal.... (4, Informative)

evanbd (210358) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794930)

There are plenty of uses that aren't transplants -- various medical research, and especially training of new doctors. Working with real cadavers is still important; you can't learn everything from books and you don't want to start on live patients for everything. How much those applications care about freezing is beyond me (I'm not a doctor), but I'm guessing it varies between "not at all" and "somewhat, but not nearly as much as transplants."

Re:I don't get the big deal.... (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795034)

Okay, I should have RTFA.... You're right, and it's right there in TFA. Damn.

Re:I don't get the big deal.... (1)

Miseph (979059) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795048)

Unless the frozen parts weren't organs for transplant. They could have been intended for sale to, say, medical schools, for the purpose of dissections.

Re:I don't get the big deal.... (1)

JimDaGeek (983925) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795104)

The frozen parts are sold for medical doctors/students to practice surgery on. Dead cells don't matter when you just want to practice the procedure and get the experience.

Re:I don't get the big deal.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22795124)

Not all money is in transplants. Freezing is perfectly acceptable if you're going to be using parts for students to dissect.

Re:I don't get the big deal.... (1)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794880)

I read TFA as well and that particular part sparked my interest so I did a bit of googling to see exactly what he got 20 years for. I couldn't find much, but I found another similar article which said he was sentenced for "mutilating bodies" (source [usatoday.com] ).

Now that strikes me as a bit odd. These people are already dead. He didn't kill them. So my first question is: does a dead body have rights ? I'm pretty sure it does not. Does it belong to anyone ? This one I don't know. But assuming it belongs to his/her heirs then I think a conviction of theft, breach of contract, vandalism or fraud would be more appropriate.

So what I'm wondering is exactly why "mutilating a dead body", one that you did not have any part in killing, is not only illegal but worth 20 years in prison ?

Did this guy do something unethical ? Absolutely. I'm not condoning what he did. I'm just wondering how he could be convicted and sentenced to 20 years for cutting up dead bodies that were already dead. Of course these are just small sentences in long articles (articles which contradict each other BTW ... TFA said the guy was turned in by a jealous lover and the article I google'd said it was an employee) and so they both might be wrong. Without the details of the trial we won't know EXACTLY what he was found guilty of.

Re:I don't get the big deal.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22795044)

so a body is worth over a hundrd thouand dollars. what gives that woman the right to destroy SOCIETY's property anyway???

oh wait nm this isn't communism.

Re:I don't get the big deal.... (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795110)

There's also this [bbc.co.uk] BBC article that touches on the issue. The problem there was that in falsifying the origins of the bodies, he also circumvented the measures in place to ensure that the parts taken from them were safe, thus endangering anyone who received them.

Re:I don't get the big deal.... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22794676)

The thing is that it apparently isn't always done with your consent, or that of your family. For example, you die and you're sent to a crematorium which gets paid to cremate you, but in reality, they keep your body (or parts of it, at least) and sell it for profit, all the while claiming that they did cremate you and getting paid for that, too.

Whether your body SHOULD be owned by you or your relatives after your death or whether it should be legally possible to use it for research etc. is another matter, but these cases involve lying, contract violations, and fraud.

Re:I don't get the big deal.... (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794788)

Your body, like anything else you owned when you were alive, should be dealt with by your will. If you decide to give your dead body to a family member, and he decides to sell it for parts so be it. You should also be able to specify that your body be sold for parts, and the proceeds sent somewhere of your choice.

Re:I don't get the big deal.... (1)

JohnFluxx (413620) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794972)

I think the trouble is that the vast majority of people don't specify, and that it is opt-in by default. Personally I think it should be opt-out by default - that would solve the problem.

Re:I don't get the big deal.... (5, Insightful)

zwei2stein (782480) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794748)

Big deal is medics they are dealing with: if dead person is worth up to 250 000 $, how hard would you really work to keep them alive?

Hell, some could have idea of killing of healthy (aka, only minor issue like broken leg) patients to get body with top quality organs (people who get organ-preserving damage done to body like broken legs are generally healthy+active life types with bodies in good shape.). And medic can easily get untraceable kill. Embolism is bitch.

And imagine if common thugs could cash you in too ... you would be walking quater million for them. Some kill for 100$, its quite imaginable them to kill for much, much more.

Re:I don't get the big deal.... (4, Funny)

Applekid (993327) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794900)

Thankfully, I've spent many years building a resistance to such attacks by being grossly overweight with liver disease, diabetes, hypertension, and hyperactive sweat glands.

Re:I don't get the big deal.... (1)

darkstar949 (697933) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794912)

I'm not sure if the others have brought this up or not, but there is also a lack of medical oversight involved that is needed to ensure that the organs are suitable for transfer and that the individual did not have any undiagnosed illnesses.

Re:I don't get the big deal.... (1)

JimDaGeek (983925) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795026)

It is a big deal because some sleazy "business" people are being dishonest and making a profit while doing it. If a family wants the body put in the ground, that is where it should go.

My biggest beef is that the family of the deceased doesn't get any part of the profit. If the body is being used for science and some business dude can make up to $250K, why shouldn't the family get a nice chunk of that? Say half? This would be a good way to help people who don't have life insurance to help out their loved ones after they die. When they die they donate their body and the family gets some of the profits of selling the body/parts for science. Instant life insurance.

Though I guess some people might want to knock off their wife/husband/mom/dad/etc if they knew they could get $100K or so. But that could be a positive and help clean up the gene pool. ;-)

Re:I don't get the big deal.... (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795174)

You get your grave for people to remember you, and your organs are put to good use.
Your organs will be given to rich, unhealthy people to keep them alive for another eighteen months. In addition, doctors will be far less willing to save your life if their hospital can earn more money by selling your liver.

People who support organ donation always forget that todays organ donation "industry" is fueled by dead Chinese prisoners, poor kidney donors, and yes, people robbing graves. It's funny, I can trace the beef I eat back to the farm, but not the organ I receive back to the person. Why is that? Because if people could trace organs, they'd become so disgusted their bodies would immediately reject the ill gotten tissue.

Some, in response to this, call for mandatory organ donation. Fuck, that. The government, no matter how many needy orphans need them, does not own my organs. People are not walking spare parts storage, and any society with a shred of respect for its citizens will treat their bodies as they would wish it after their death. Arguments along the lines of "They're dead. They don't care." don't hold much weight with me. I'm alive, and I happen to care about their final wishes.

I'm not donating my organs, not in the current climate. Despite the fact that this makes me "an evil person", I don't want to risk bits of me ending up in complete jerks, whose only reason for getting those organs was because they could pay for them. The thought of this happening is rather depressing. No doubt I will be labeled as selfish and short sighted for not helping all the needy people in private healthcare.

What I find most offensive is the obscene profits reaped by those who traffic in stolen organs. The fraud, the secrecy, and the lies are all enough to show how these people really feel about what they're doing. Any empty rhetorical arguments are unneeded. Come back to me with a fully transparent, universal healthcare system, then we'll talk about my organ donation card.

Body snatching for profit? Why don't we just take peoples naked bodies out of the ground for school children to throw rock at? It's about as dignified, if not more so.

Re:I don't get the big deal.... (1)

orielbean (936271) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795184)

But how did you die? By yourself, or did the medic with 2 car payments "forget" to put in the IV?

Niven was right. (4, Insightful)

AltGrendel (175092) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794524)

Organleggers will exist until we develop proper organ cloning. The moral dilemma over cloning and stem cell research will hamper any progress in this area and allow the organleggers to continue, much like the drug trade has.

Re:Niven was right. (5, Interesting)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794570)

On the other hand, Niven did foresee an end to organlegging with the rise of alloplasty ("gadgets instead of organs"). Of course, in Niven's timeline that only happened in A Gift from Earth (republished in Three Books of Known Space [amazon.com] IIRC), after hundreds of years of murders for organs, but we're already seeing exciting reports in tech news of progress in artificial parts, so maybe the barbarity of e.g. China's treatment of prisoners will pass fairly soon.

Re:Niven was right. (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794582)

"Organlegger" would be an awesome name for a Dick Tracy villain.

Re:Niven was right. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22794622)

How would we call illegal leg traders? Legleggers?

Goatse (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22794606)

Goatse. [twofo.co.uk]

You nerd faggots love it.

Also, Zeus sucks cock.

Re:Niven was right. (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794802)

Organlegging is a symptom of a culture in which the choice of who to treat lies not with who has a future ahead of them, nor with who will benefit society, but only with how much money you have.

This will have to change, because there aren't enough young people to service all the old people, so the system will collapse if it continues to run as it has been. But it would be better if we could stop wasting resources on treating old sick people and start using them to treat young people with a future ahead of them.

I look forward to watching all these bastards with their overdeveloped sense of entitlement coughing out their last breaths in some ditch searching for their last meal. I give it a decade or two.

Re:Niven was right. (4, Insightful)

Detritus (11846) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794902)

But it would be better if we could stop wasting resources on treating old sick people and start using them to treat young people with a future ahead of them.

That should be a permanent entry in your medical records.

Re:Niven was right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22795212)

organleggers. I like that expression. Especially when the organ actually is a leg..

When does the government get involved? (5, Interesting)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794526)

In his Gil "The Arm" Hamilton stories (collected in Flatlander ) Larry Niven speculated that once organ transplants were common, the government would end up making everything, even jaywalking, merit the death penalty to insure a good supply of organs. China has already started using organs from executed prisoners, how long before it spreads to India and even the West?

Re:When does the government get involved? (4, Funny)

polar red (215081) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794546)

over my dead body !

Re:When does the government get involved? (1)

joaommp (685612) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794566)

Similarities: There's an episode in SGA where they come across a world where the punishment for every crime was the exile to the island that hosted the stargate. The Wraith would come through the stargate and feed on the prisioners and leave the remainder of the world untouched. Until the SGA teams screwed up their very effective way of living, of course.

Re:When does the government get involved? (1)

Malevolent Tester (1201209) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794638)

China has already started using organs from executed prisoners, how long before it spreads to India and even the West?
I think the word you want is actually "murdered", not "executed".

Re:When does the government get involved? (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794870)

It's called "executed" when a government sanctions it...
Murder is typically used to refer to unlawful killing, and since it is government who define the laws, they can simply declare the killing they perform to not be unlawful.
Sometimes it's reclassified as murder after the government doing it has been deposed.

When an american soldier shoots an enemy combatant in iraq, is that murder?

Re:When does the government get involved? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795240)

Well if the prisoner wants to be an organ donor then I don't have any more problem with it than I already have with the death penalty. I happen to be against the death penalty for personal religious reasons.

There's another article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22794528)

The Healthwatch Blog [nimp.org] has an interesting take on things. Very interesting

MOD PARENT DOWN (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794768)

The parent links to GNAA's Last Measure shock site.

Again, life imitates science fiction (1, Informative)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794534)

Larry Niven coined the term "organlegger [technovelgy.com] " to describe individuals who obtained and resold body parts through less than scrupulous means.

Hmmm (2, Funny)

joaommp (685612) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794538)

"Now, who says I'm worth more alive than dead?"

It depends... do you know the secret combination to a safe holding multibilion dollar amounts and are susceptible of talking under... preemptive advice?

Did someone tell Tony Soprano? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22794560)

Not only does this make it easier to dispose of the body after you whack somebody, but you make money at the same time!

It's win-win!

Hmm (3, Funny)

TheLink (130905) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794572)

How much is my left little finger worth?

Don't get the wrong idea, I'm quite attached to it.

So you'll have to prise it from my cold dead hands (or over my dead body)...

Oh wait...

I can beat that (2, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794658)

I've got a middle finger that I would gladly give George W. Bush for free.

One future cadaver for sale, liver not included (2, Interesting)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794576)

A recent staple of science fiction is the story of people optioning their body parts for money while they're still living (companies pay you based on the value of said parts and the odds that your body will still be intact at death and not crushed in a car accident or something). Personally, I think this is not so unlikely as many science fiction scenarios. After all, about the only thing standing in the way are medical ethics regulations, and when times get tight, you can bet that corruption will put a stop to those.

Re:One future cadaver for sale, liver not included (1)

joaommp (685612) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794654)

Yeah, that's very cool and then, soon after you get paid, you "accidentally" die of some cause that coincidentally doesn't harm the body parts you sold.

Re:One future cadaver for sale, liver not included (2, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794690)

It would have to make you a little nervous. But, in practice, it's very unlikely that a company would ever risk a major go-to-jail-for-a-very-long-time-loose-everything scandal just to harvest a few bodies a little early. They would just adjust their rates accordingly.

Re:One future cadaver for sale, liver not included (1)

joaommp (685612) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794728)

Companies that can afford such a scheme, can afford the means to prevent them from getting caught or to prevent them from getting convicted even if they get caught.

Re:One future cadaver for sale, liver not included (1)

Peter La Casse (3992) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794674)

What would minimize corruption in this area is legalizing sales of human body parts. If my estate would benefit from the sale of my body parts after I die, why shouldn't I arrange to have it do so?

Re:One future cadaver for sale, liver not included (1)

JimDaGeek (983925) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795256)

Because if a person who would benefit from the sale of your dead body was facing financial ruin, it may just be enough of an incentive to kill you or have you killed. Heck, there are people that have been killed over 10's of dollars, or a pair of shoes or even a beer or two. If you are worth more dead than alive, you might just find yourself dead sooner rather than later. It happens all the time to people with a big life insurance policy.

Imagine if some ghetto/trailer trash could just knock-off a family member and get a fat pay-day.

They are trading bears? (4, Funny)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794580)

"The BBC are reporting on a grisly trade lying behind the booming business for replacement body parts in medical procedures.
According to Colbert, the number one threat to America is BEARS! These biological terrorists need to be stopped before the American Dollar is ruined.... oh wait

Re:They are trading bears? (1)

Rocketship Underpant (804162) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795154)

A grisly trade in a black market! The country is in bruins.

250K a body!!! (1)

NobleSavage (582615) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794634)

How can I get in on this?

Re:250K a body!!! (1)

sjaguar (763407) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794756)

More importantly, how can I get my community involved? There are several neighbors of mine that I would like to volunteer for donation.

Re:250K a body!!! (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794820)

How can I get in on this?

Just lie down on this table and close your eyes. Sorry it's a bit cold, but you won't notice after a few moments.

Sell yourself. (1)

cheros (223479) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794828)

Bit of a recursive profit, but hey. You get to blow $250k, then get killed and math applied (divisions, mainly).

Just get a guarantee for them to wait until you're dead before they start dividing you.

Yeah, I know. Something I ate disagreed with me (and no, you can't have my stomach).

George Carlin was right, someonelse too (3, Funny)

MrShaggy (683273) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794636)

'Thats why I dont sign my doner card. When you get into an accident and the abulance comes, and they see you have that card. Do you honestly think they are there to help you?? Hell no, they are looking for spare parts.' Or even better. knock.knock: Door opens. "Yes, can I help you??" 'Are yu such and such' 'Yes I am'. "We're here for you liver." ;)

A related BBC news article (2, Interesting)

u8i9o0 (1057154) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794646)

Quoting the summary:

Now, who says I'm worth more alive than dead?

How about this [bbc.co.uk] very recent article, also from BBC. The crime they describe is blood donations (for cash) from a farm of living people.

Re:A related BBC news article (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794920)

That shouldn't be a crime, it's your blood, and selling a fairly small amount of it won't harm you.
They don't like the idea of people selling blood, because then they won't be able to continue getting free donations. On the other hand, the number of people giving blood would increase massively if people were paid for it.

Remembering Alistair Cooke (5, Informative)

seven of five (578993) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794648)

This happened to Alistair Cooke's body.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alistair_Cooke#Later_Life_and_Death [wikipedia.org]

Re:Remembering Alistair Cooke (1)

ajcham (1179959) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795078)

Alistair Cooke's case was specifically referred to in last night's BBC documentary on this subject.

How much would organ donation help? (1)

keineobachtubersie (1244154) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794672)

As an organ donor, I have to wonder how much those of you who aren't organ donors are to blame for this.

How much of a market would there be if the organs were available as a result of donation?

Re:How much would organ donation help? (1)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794914)

On a related note, I wonder how many people who do not give away their auto mobiles are to blame for car theft. No need to steal a car if you can legally obtain one for free.

Re:How much would organ donation help? (1)

keineobachtubersie (1244154) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794978)

"On a related note..."

Where was that? I didn't see it in your post.

"I wonder how many people who do not give away their auto mobiles after they die and no longer have any use for them are to blame for car theft. No need to steal a car if you can legally obtain one that has been donated for your use for free."

I fixed your post to make it more accurately reflect the situation.

Re:How much would organ donation help? (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795270)

So.. who donates their car after their dead? Usually it will end up with some relative that already has a car, and that relative will either sell his own or the inherited car. In neither situation is a car donated.

Besides, due to religious reasons, many people believe they have a use for their bodies after they died. You'll be more likely to get cars donated to stop theft (as if such a thing would work, which was the point of the grandparent) then it is to get people to donate their bodies after death.

p.s. I'm a registered organ donor.

Re:How much would organ donation help? (0, Troll)

TheCRAIGGERS (909877) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795206)

I have to wonder how much those of you who aren't organ donors are to blame for this.
None. You're not (usually) an organ donor until you die. And as far as I know, dead people can't read slashdot.

Personal worth (1)

simpsone (830935) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794678)

Now, who says I'm worth more alive than dead? I believe that would be Boba Fett.

Shhhh..... (3, Funny)

cdr_data (916869) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794720)

PLEASE don't tell my wife!

Oblig. Futurama (4, Funny)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794740)

Fry: Now that you mention it, I do have trouble breathing underwater sometimes. I'll take the gills.
Shady organ dealer: Yes, gills. Then, uh, you don't need lungs anymore, is right?
Fry: Can't imagine why I would.
Shady organ dealer: Lie down on table. I take lungs now, gills come next week.

So how long (2, Informative)

overshoot (39700) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794798)

... until we get to Larry Niven's dystopic idea that the demand for "spare parts" will grow so huge that legislatures first order that organs be harvested from all executed felons?

After that, of course, public objections to the death penalty drop since it's a source of spare parts. Eventually death becomes the standard penalty for any felony.

Imagine if *you* had the right to sell your corpse (3, Interesting)

TrebleJunkie (208060) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794842)

Yup, you're worth a lot of money dead. To everyone but you. Imagine if _you_ had the right to decide to sell your corpse for a profit, the good you could do: You could leave that money to your family, donate it to charities. You could also do wonders to eliminate the organ donor waiting list -- if, presumably, you could directly sell your organs to folks willing to pay for them.

Re:Imagine if *you* had the right to sell your cor (1)

wodgy7 (850851) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795152)

I'm not sure that this isn't legal. There is no property in bodies at common law, but you could sell a "chose in action" (technical legal term) granting a third party the right to obtain your corpse after death.

It's a good idea. With the aging of the baby boomers and looming medical care costs for families, it makes sense.

Obligatory (1)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794862)

You'd better make sure that we're properly dead before you start ol' Ripbeak!

Sooo..... (1)

RationalRoot (746945) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794878)

Who want's to start a web site where I can sell futures on my dead body.

If I'm worth 250K in lets say 50 years when I'm dead.

Assume that that goes up by inflation, (probably more).

I'll sell of the rights to my dead body now for about 200k

Any takers.

[It will have to go through enough solicitors that you don't get my address and come 'round to ensure that you get to cash in sooner rather than later though]

Re:Sooo..... (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795030)

How do you guarantee the quality of your organs? A lot can happen in 50 years, you could develop cataracts, liver disease, or be crushed in a car accident. You're going to have to offer a better deal than that.

Re:Sooo..... (1)

RationalRoot (746945) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795134)

Hey, if some random body that gets swiped from a mortuary sells for 250K....

I swim about 4K a week, In the recent past I have run several half marathons*, I don't smoke (anything), I don't drink much. Apart from the fact that I might outlive you, I reckon this future corpse is going to trade for a premium.

(*You may want to discount my knees)

The Value of Taco's Body (2, Funny)

airship (242862) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794894)

Has anyone EVER asserted that Taco was worth more than a quarter of a million? Anyone? Anyone?

I didn't think so.

There's a mark-up somewhere... (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794990)

I'm probably not the only person who has received the "live or die" [boldlygoingnowhere.org] email claiming to come from a hitman. If by the email someone could take a body for $9,000 or less, and then by the story sell it for $250,000, then there is certainly money to be made.

Two Words... (1)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795036)

Soylent Green

Bon appetite

Basic supply and demand... (1)

nasor (690345) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795070)

People always argue that we shouldn't be able to buy and sell organs because it gives the rich an unfair advantage over the poor when they need an organ transplant - but this viewpoint ignores the fact that being able to pay for organs actually increases the supply of organs. I guarantee you that many, many more people would check the "I want to donate my organs if I die" box if they knew that their surviving family would be gettings some money for it. Likewise, people would be much more likely to allow the organs of their deceased family members to be harvested if they received money for it. In the end, allowing people to pay for organs results in more people getting transplants and surviving.

Donations? (1)

kernowyon (1257174) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795076)

Whilst the article covers the stealing of bodies, which is pretty deplorable, there is an interesting question raised by it.
Student doctors and some other trainee medical staff need to practice on deceased bodies. In the UK at least, it was possible to donate your body to science (and in the USA too I believe?). How do you go about doing this I wonder? Does the Donor Card, carried by many of us in the UK cover this as well - maybe they can't use your organs as donating material for some reason (disease, medications etc), but your body could be used for training the doctors of tomorrow?
If that is the case, I would be quite happy for them to practice on me once I am dead (I take too many tablets for any of my organs to be of use), but it may not be a popular idea with some people for whatever reason (cultural, religion etc).Maybe the Donor Card needs to have an additional box - When I am dead, please use my body for training the Medical Staff of tomorrow. If enough donations were received, surely the kind of activity mentioned in the article would be stopped.
I had a feeling that at one time you could specifically state that you wished to donate your body to science in the UK and, following your death, your body was handed to the students for their traning and then your remains would be cremated without any expense to your family.

I have no problem with donating my body to science - hell, they already have my right kidney, complete with huge tumour, in a jar somewhere....!

They can have my body (3, Funny)

maroberts (15852) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795100)

As long as my head can be kept alive in a jar....

for example... (1)

rilister (316428) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795172)

I came across this when noted (and lovable) BBC radio journalist and Masterpiece Theater presenter Alastair Cooke's body bits were stolen after his death:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alastair_Cooke#Later_Life_and_Death [wikipedia.org]

- the bodysnatchers changed his age on his death certificate from 95 to 85 (presumably to bump up his value), and ignored the fact that his cancerous bones would have been useless for transplant. Caveat emptor indeed.

These black market body parts are bad because... (1)

Rastl (955935) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795176)

Legitimate sources have to pass all kinds of inspections, tests to make sure the parts being harvested are safe for use, etc.

The black market has no such controls. So the body parts being implanted in your favorite Aunt Florence could have come from a drug-addicted HIV-positive person with hepatitis C. The hospital has purchased the parts from a 'legitimate' source and now they can't figure out what happened to Aunt Florence over a simple hip replacement.

The morals of such a practice are one thing. The actual physical dangers are quite another.

No Bene tleilaxu references (1)

INeededALogin (771371) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795200)

They were the ultimate body snatchers of all time.
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