April 24, 2024

Plastinated bodies to be sold on internet

Gunther von Hagens at it again.

After commercialising the human body with
lurid exhibitions of plastinated corpses, the controversial German anatomist
Gunther von Hagens has moved into selling bodies and body parts over the
internet. On his website, Plastinarium,
he will be selling whole human bodies for about US$100,000. Torsos will be available
for around $80,000 and human heads for $31,000. According to Dr von Hagens, his
only customers will be scientists and medical experts – although how he will
police this is not clear.

The technique of plastination involved
replacing water and fat with reactive resins and polymers. The corpses are
manipulated into various poses, ranging from sports to sex, and displayed as
educational exhibits. An estimated 30 million people have seen von Hagens’s
exhibits and he now has competitors.

Controversial as von Hagens already was,
this new move sparked even more criticism – which he gleefully
makes available on his website

Michael Peintinger, spokesman for ethics
and palliative care of the Vienna Medical Association, declared “What
possible use is there for this for practising doctors? A man has been posthumously
degraded to a commodity and his dignity has been deeply injured.” Manfred Lutz,
a doctor and best-selling novelist, declared that it was “perverse” and a kind
of “optical cannibalism”. Medical historian Christoph Mörgeli and detected in
von Hagens’s business “a certain hostility towards science”. “Body parts for
sale on the internet is just going too far. Von Hagens has stepped over the
boundaries of legality and ethics. This seems criminal to me.” ~ London
Telegraph, Nov 11

Michael Cook
respect for dead