The lawsuit was filed in December 2015 by the families of 8 deceased people who donated organs to Biological Resource Center (BRC) for scientific research, according to ABC News
Instead, BMC allegedly scammed the families and sold their relatives’ body parts to the highest bidder.
Documents discovered in a federal raid in 2014 show that a human head sold for $500, arms for $750, and whole bodies for $5,000. The families say BMC:
- Sold whole bodies and body parts for profit
- Shipped body parts internationally to unknown entities
- Failed to use the bodies for science, medical purposes, or education
- Stored body parts for years without disposing of them
- Did not handle bodies with dignity and respect
- Harvested body parts against the wishes of the deceased
The 48 year-old owner of BMC, Stephen Gore, pled guilty to a felony and was sentenced to probation and deferred jail time.
The macabre truth is that “body snatching” may be a lot more common than you think. In 2012, a lawsuit accused the New York Organ Donor Network of pressuring surgeons to declare patients “brain dead” so they could harvest organs — even patients who were still breathing.
In another case, Michael Mastomarino was convicted of illegally harvesting tissues from 1,077 corpses in 30 funeral homes without consent. The scheme went on for four years and generated at least $4.6 million.
Tissue harvesting is big business — at least $1 billion a year, according to NPR. Because it is illegal to sell body parts, that money comes from “processing fees.”
And if you are an organ donor, “cutters” do not have to wait until you are dead. Your organs are most valuable when they are fresh. In some cases, organs are harvested while a dying patient is still breathing and has electrical activity in the brain — all without anesthesia.
Source: Wall Street Journal