November 3, 2021
We at Med Ed Labs respect, cherish, and appreciate the generous and thoughtful gifts of all our donors who contribute to our whole body donation program. We have utmost gratitude for the decedents’ families who entrust us with the remains of their loved ones. We utilize and treat our donors with the highest respect, care, and professionalism, including full blood serology and COVID testing understanding the importance of our donors’ precious gift to the scientific, medical, and surgical fields. We have prudently and respectfully returned the donor utilized for the anatomical dissection on October 17, 2021 to the funeral home selected by the decedent’s family and are diligently working with Portland, Oregon investigators to ensure there is no ongoing voyeurism or misrepresentation of essential anatomical training events in the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere. We will be cooperating with the government and industrial agencies to review existing industry-wide protocols and to make recommendations to help avoid this tragedy from recurring anywhere.
Prior to the unprecedented October 17, 2021 event, Death Science deceived us repeatedly, stating the donor they requested would be utilized solely for educational anatomical dissection instructing academic students, paramedics, and personnel within forensic pathology fields. We had absolutely no prior knowledge that any donor provided by our network of surgical facilities would be used as part of the so-called “Oddities Expo” and we were completely in the dark that people would be paying to attend a show featuring one of our donors.
At the event, a certified anatomist operating under the United States Congressional Clinical Research Enhancement Act of 1999 proceeded with the anatomical dissection on October 17, 2021 with over 40 years prior teaching experience as a professor of anatomy and physiology at the University of Montana. He stated all protocols and procedures were followed regarding handling the donor with utmost respect including draping over identifiable traits and limiting exposure of the donor to what he was led to believe were pre-health science students majoring in the health professions recommended by faculty advisors to attend the anatomical dissection. He taped over the donor’s hospital band, concealing identity, and all tissues were handled with care and put back into place with limited disruption to the donor following all regulations and recognized behavior protocols for working with human cadavers. As professional mock surgeries and other training events furthering the education of neurologists, plastic surgeons, orthopedists, and paramedics are globally held in hotel meeting and convention rooms, the anatomist recognized the Marriott as such and presumed it was a restricted invited attendee only event. He fielded questions from individuals in attendance representing themselves as students, anthropologists, and therapists interested in the muscle skeletal system and body kinesiology. He also stated the only cameras allowed at the anatomical dissection were for imaging projection teaching purposes and that he did not see any advertisements for an “Oddities Expo,” and the class was conducted as normally expected at the University.
We were then utterly dismayed and horrified to hear from the Washington and Multnomah County Medical Examiners later in October that they had investigated Death Science and found the entity to be fraudulently representing itself as an accredited collegiate training program qualified in forensic pathology providing law enforcement Death Investigation Certificates certified by the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators. We were beside ourselves as we have an inherent respect for individuals both living and deceased and commit ourselves to compassionate care with the highest ethical standards. Our mission is to work with medical device companies to enrich and support the lives of people now and in the future through medical and surgical research, innovation, education, and the training of surgeons as we host physician and medical staff seminars throughout the nation to help train on the latest and most innovative methods to bring about better patient outcomes.
With the essential need for simulation labs nationwide to assist in the placement of central lines, spinal cord imaging, and improvement of surgical advances, we have informed and cautioned the American Federation for Medical Research and the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), Research teams along with non-transplant anatomical donation organizations affiliated with the American Association of Tissue Banks to refrain from working with Death Science and to monitor and watch for any imminent “Oddities Expo,” cadaver labs as Death Science is operating under false pretenses. We are mournful and request full privacy and respect be extended to the donor’s family.