Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Spare parts

Did anyone see Horizon on BBC 2 last evening ?

It was a rather disturbing look at the billion dollar trade in "spare parts" from dead bodies.

I had heard of the horrible fate of Alistair Cooke's body, which was described in this programme but had no idea the practise of taking parts from dead bodies was so widespread either illegally or legally.

Routine operations such as repairs to damaged ligaments now involve replacements using real human tissue from dead bodies.

Squeamish at the best of times, this was not a comfortable watch. I had to open a window more than once but made it to the end of the programme !

Some people were extremely philosophical about it viewing their dead bodies as like a second hand car when finished with and quite appropriate to take parts from to help others still living.

It is clear that the illegal side of it, as well as being unethical, also cancels out the benefits as disease and sub-standard parts can result from unregulated "harvesting" of parts from dead bodies.

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