David Saunders lived a long and established life, making it to 98-years-old. Sadly, though he had almost lived to be a hundred, he was struck down by Covid, like so many in the last couple of years. But that is just the beginning of this story. While the Covid death was shocking enough to the family, what happened next was like something straight out of a horror movie, and it left the family reeling.
Trigger warning: this gets pretty dark.
They Did WHAT With the Body
Imagine losing someone you love in a tragic pandemic, only to find out that the body was being used as a public dissection that cost attendees $500 a pop? We say this because that is just what happened to the Saunders family. As if losing their patriarch wasn’t troubling enough.
A man by the name of Jeremy Ciliberto founded a group called DeathScience.Org that has been touring as part of an Oddities and Curiosities event, meant to inform people about medical science, such as autopsies. What that means in simple terms is it’s a live, pay-per-view event for autopsies. That is where Saunders, who wished to donate his mortal remains to science, ended up.
Is This Legal (and Ethical)?
The first autopsy event took place at the Marriott in Portland on October 7th, and the whole thing left many authorities scratching their heads. Kimberly DiLeo, who was the chief medical death investigator for Multnomah County, Oregon had some very pointed words about the first event, “We feel that this was not respectful and certainly not ethical.” Thankfully, Oregon was quick enough to act, which led to the second event (which was to be David Saunders public dissection) being promptly canceled as more questions of ethics arose.
A photojournalist who was at the first event, and captured the surreal situation playing out, said this about it: “Paying customers filed into a lower floor ballroom at the Marriott Downtown Waterfront hotel. On a table in the center of the ballroom, a figure lay draped in a white sheet. The VIP customers, who paid the $500 ticket price, sat in the front row inches from the table. He then sliced into the head, limbs, and torso of the expired man while onlookers gawked.” Some say it is educational, while others who were there have pointed out how disrespectful and unsettling they found the whole thing.
Fallout From the Event
While founder Jeremy Ciliberto swears up and down it is educational (and it very much may be for those in attendance), the real issue here is ethics. He claims to pay over ten grand for each body, which he gets from Med Ed Labs, which is a Las Vegas (for-profit) organization that acquires bodies that have been donated in the name of science. One thing many people are grasping onto is the fact that the bodies get donated for free, but then Med Ed sells them for close to ten grand.
Ciliberto does insist he does everything by the book, even if the sound of the whole thing is very off-putting to some. He has also stated that, in his words, “consent is not his responsibility.” He puts that on Med Ed Labs. Seems like a lot of deflecting going on here.
What Happens NOW?!
The Marriott Hotel looked into the Oregon event and was pretty disturbed at what it found. It had been told the event was for “medical equipment training”, which is why it okayed it. Suffice it to say, once it found out it was for the public dissection of a human body, it quickly canceled the Seattle event, sparing David Saunders’ family even more trauma.
But Ciliberto is far from deterred. According to a recent statement, he was looking for new places to hold these events for 2022. Honestly, you can’t make this stuff up. Life in 2021 is bizarre, to say the least, and this story just might be the most bizarre of all.