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The family of a World War Two veteran have expressed their outrage and disgust after the 98-year-old's body was dissected in front of a live audience at a $500 'pay-per-view' event in Portland, Oregon.
An undercover journalist managed to get into the event, which took place at a Marriott Hotel in Portland as part of a travelling show called the 'Oddities and Curiosities Expo'.
The family of David Saunders - who donated his body to medical science - only found out from this investigation, and have since said that they had no idea that his body could be used in this way.
Saunders died from Covid-19, and was subsequently dissected on 17 October in front of a crowd of viewers.
There was no necessity for viewers of the autopsy - during which his brain and organs were removed - to be medical students.
Ticket prices reportedly went up to $500 (£360) for VIP seats.
The event was staged by an organisation called Death Science, who are alleged to have paid more than $10,000 (£7,000) to buy the body from a private company.
On their website, Death Science claims to be 'an educational platform focused on the scientific fields of forensic, medical, and mortuary science' that 'collaborates with industry experienced professionals...to teach students around the world.'
The event in Portland was described on their website as being 'for lovers of the strange, unusual and bizarre'.
Saunders widow Elsie told King 5 TV station that she was 'horrified' to learn about what happened, and said that her husband was 'treated like a piece of meat in front of a paying audience.'
His body had been prepared by undertakers in his native Louisiana, before it was given to Med Ed Labs, a Las Vegas based company that claims to have been 'established to provide medical and surgical education and training for the advancement of medical and surgical innovation.'
Normally, people donate their bodies to such companies to avoid high funeral costs, and the families receive an urn of ashes after the research is complete.
However, Med Ed Labs sold the cadaver to Jeremy Ciliberto, the founder of Death Science, allegedly for 'north' of $10,000.
Ciliberto claims Med Ed Labs knew what his plans were for the body. However, the chief medical examiner in Portland says this isn't true.
Kimberly DiLeo, the Multnomah County Medical Examiner, said: "Their supervisor was unaware of the deceased being used for this event."
A Med Ed Labs spokesperson said: "We feel that this was not respectful and certainly not ethical."
They also said that Ciliberto had been 'dishonest' in procuring Saunders' body.
Ciliberto said: "I can guarantee that that man knew his body would be used for medical research."
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