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When Deceased Donations to Alleged Medical Science Become Trafficking in Body Parts

Chicago, IL: Illegal trafficking of body parts may be closer to home than many people want to believe. A mother in Chicago, who lost her 23-year old son to spindle cell sarcoma and subsequently donated his body to science, as he had instructed her, found out that several medical businesses had harvested and mishandled her son’s remains, possibly for profit.

Dawn Carroll had signed a form authorizing her son’s body to be donated to Biological Resource Center of Illinois for medical education or research. According to her lawsuit, she was led to believe that her son’s remains would be treated with dignity and wouldn't be dismembered or sold for profit.

The companies "held themselves out to the general public as being dedicated to the collection and study of donor bodies solely for medical and scientific purposes," the lawsuit states. In reality, the suit alleges, Biological Resource Center of Illinois, Cremation Services Inc., the Arthroscopy Association of North America, International Biological Inc, and others were partners in an enterprise of "illegally collecting, harvesting and trafficking of human body parts for profit."

Carroll is not the first to file a lawsuit against Biological Resource Center of Illinois. At least six such lawsuits have been filed against the company and connected businesses. This has led to an investigation by the FBI.

In 2015, eight families filed a lawsuit against Biological Resource Center of Arizona, alleging the company represented that bodily remains they and their entities received through donation would be used for scientific and medical education and research. However, based on both state and federal investigations, the lawsuit alleges that donated bodily remains were actually dismembered, sold for profit, mishandled, and improperly disposed of on the black market.

According to that civil lawsuit (CV2015-013391), filed in the Superior Court of Arizona, Maricopa County: The deceased family members were dismembered and their body parts or whole bodies were sold for profit;

The body parts of family members were shipped overseas for profit to unknown entities;

The whole bodies and body parts of their family members were not used for scientific, medical, or educational purposes;

The donor body parts were being stored for years by the defendants without being donated to medicine or science;

The whole bodies and body parts of their family members were not stored, treated or disposed of with dignity or respect; and

The defendants harvested bodies and body parts fraudulently and contrary to the express will of the decedents and/or their families.

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Published on Nov-9-17


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Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc. et al. v. Center for Medical Progress et al., case number 3:16-cv-00236, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

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