The USE Of DEAD BODIES
Current Law and Policy
disposal-burial, cremation, sea, cryogenic suspension
Problems with Current System
insufficient cadaver resources
voluntary system-difficult to operate
individual has an interest while alive in the disposition of the body.
Interests that include aesthetic, ethnic, religious considerations
family has an interest in the disposition of the body. Interests that
include aesthetic, ethnic, religious considerations
state has an interest in the dead body in determining the exact cause of
death, particularly in cases of suicide . homicide or contagious disease(
and workmen compensation cases).
state has an interest in the dead body in obtaining sufficient cadaver
resources for medical education, dental education and funeral director
state has an interest in the dead body for obtaining cadaver resources for
medical therapy, including transplantation.
the event of a conflict among the interests, the state's interests take
Proposals to increase the number of organs available
Change the law
Voluntary System, UAGC (1968)
- removal unless there are objections
Modified Presumed Consent
-removal without disfigurement
- no consent needed, no consultation
Use anencephalic neo-nates -Lama
Linda Medical Center, CA
Non-Heart Beating Cadaver Donors NHBCD-Univ.
family members of donor
Accept Black Market materials, organs, etc.
Capital punishment/donor policy
Physician Assisted Suicide/donor
Use of Neo-Morts/body factories/warm cadavers/bio-emporiums
i. medical education
ii. medical training
iii. medical experimentation
v. harvesting- tissues, blood, hormones, organs
vi. artificial wombs, incubators
Should neomorts exist at
all? If so how should it be determined that a body becomes a neomort?
Are there to be any limitations on the use of neomorts? Would the next of
kin have any rights with regard to the neomort?
What would it do to the human
community if it were to create large numbers of neomorts?
by Jane M. Orient, M.D. and Linda J. Wright. Peduncle Press,Waldport, OR,
1999, 173 pp., $5.99, ISBN: 0-9665778-4-1, eBook format only available at
Neomorts, a new novel by the dynamic duo of Dr. Jane Orient and
Linda J. Wright, is about standing by your own morals and judgment even when
it conflicts with government standards. Although written as a medical
mystery/thriller, this book examines serious issues that cut at the very
heart of medicine. It pushes moral and professional rationalization to
limits that are strikingly similar to those being approached in medicine
today. The fictional account opens and proceeds rapidly with the passage of
the Organ Transplantation Rights Bill. This new law guaranteed equal access
to free organ transplants for all citizens but resulted in people
relinquishing their rights to their own bodies in favor of
government-determined "societal good."
Suddenly, government mandated
wealth transfer programs took on a whole new dimension--or as one of the
characters puts it, "If someone else can make better use of a liver than its
original owner does, why shouldn't society transfer the wealth?" Quality
assurance is measured by and funding tied to the number of harvested organs
in the government-run hospital. But, with all "free" services comes the
dilemma of what to do with the increased demand for these "public
resources?" How can government possibly increase the supply of organ donors?
And, what happens when the utilization review committee doesnšt approve
onešs transplant operation? For those citizens who figured out the mystery
of the government approved Federal Transplant Registry hospital, the answer
to those questions was clear--Saul's mobile repair shop. Despite all
government efforts to kill it, underground free market medicine survives
clandestinely. In groundertown, Dr. Saul Goldsmith and physician apprentice
Zane Gabriel run a 50-bed hospital hidden within an old Safeway warehouse
and perform surgery for cold cash in a converted walk-in freezer. No quality
of life committees determining worthiness to live or die, no government
protocols or clinical pathways to follow, just down to earth medicine
practiced for the sole benefit of the individual patient.
Meanwhile, the government has
discovered a new cost-saving method to meet the increased demand for
organs--a process supported by a very confidential funding source. Requiring
citizens to report to government hospitals for their annual Risk Assessment
Profile (RAP) seems to be key to the plan, but in an environment where
government also controls the press, how can it possibly be investigated and
Jenna Dorn, is a reporter for the
government-controlled newspaper, the MetroReport. Shešs trapped in
a propoganda-generating job that she hates, but like everyone else, she has
to make a living. In her spare time, she pursues the truth through her
investigative articles in the underground newspaper known as The Eye.
Her investigations take her into the underground world of medicine and into
the darkest corners of the Federal Transplant Registry. She learns about
the peculiar beliefs of strange men dressed in brown robes who are members
of the Society of the Redeemed. Members of this unique society are strongly
opposed to the immoral confiscation of internal organs by government and are
often seen holding protest rallies in front of the government hospital.
Teaming up with physician apprentice extraordinaire Zane Gabriel, she
closely examines the workings of the government-run hospital--perhaps a
little too closely for her own good. But, will exposing the facts be enough?
Even Jenna Dorn isn't sure. "I used to believe that people would make the
right decisions if you just presented them with the facts. Now I realize how
naive I was."
Neomorts is a masterpiece of
intertwined stories that lead the reader down the path of realistic intrigue
and suspense. You may think you know what a neomort is, but rest assured you
cannot possibly know what it is and where all the twists and turns will
lead...until the end. For those who enjoy a medical thriller with freedom at
its heart, you donšt want to miss reading this one.
Reviewed by Lawrence R. Huntoon,
Lawrence R. Huntoon, MD, PhD is
president of AAPS and a practicing neurologist in Jamestown, New York.
Originally published in the Medical
Sentinel 2000;5(4):247-248. CopyrightŠ2000 Association of American
Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS)