The family of David Saunders, who was dissected in front of a live audience in Portland, say they had no idea his body would be used in this way.

SEATTLE – A man who died from COVID-19 was dissected in front of a paying audience, and his widow had no idea.

The family of David Saunders, 98, learned of the autopsy of a KING 5 investigation that revealed the Oct. 17 class of corpses in Portland, Oregon. A similar event in Seattle has been canceled.

Event organizers sold tickets up to $ 500 to the public to attend the autopsy and dissection of a human body in person. The event is part of the Oddities and Curiosities Expo, which travels across the country.

“It makes me really saddened that this gentleman did not receive the dignity and respect he deserved and what he thought and his family thought would happen to his body,” said Mike Clark, funeral director. in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. .

Clark took care of the preparation of Saunders’ body as it was handed over to a private company which the family said would use his body for medical research. Instead, Saunders found himself in a Portland Marriott hotel ballroom as the centerpiece of an autopsy and dissection in front of a live paying audience.

A group of funeral directors informed Clark this week after the KING 5 investigation aired.

“I was totally horrified,” Clark said. “All of our staff were horrified that this was what had happened to a man that he and his family thought his body was going for the advancement of medical students.”

Clark said Med Ed Labs, a Las Vegas-based company that solicits body donations purportedly for medical and scientific research, never told him or the family that Saunders’ remains would be used in this way. He also said the funeral home has stopped working with Med Ed Labs.

However, the event’s organizer, DeathScience.org founder Jeremy Ciliberto, told KING 5 that the donor and his family have given their consent.

“I can guarantee that this man knew his body would be used for medical research,” Ciliberto said.

A director of Med Ed Labs, the company that sold Saunders’ corpse to Ciliberto, said Ciliberto was “beyond” dishonesty in his dealings with Med Ed. Obteen Nassiri said Cilberto claimed he would use the body for a medical class.

According to Saunders’ death certificate, he died of COVID-19, which means that a potentially infectious body was dissected during an event where people were asked to examine and touch the body.

Nassiri couldn’t explain why he provided a COVID-infected donor to a customer, although he said his company usually checks it.


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