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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 March, 2004, 14:22 GMT
US army blows up donated bodies
Donated bodies are considered vital for medical training
Seven corpses donated to America's Tulane University ended up being sold to the army and blown up in land-mine tests, university officials said.

They said the Louisiana university paid a firm that distributes corpses less than $1,000 per body after its medical school had more than it needed.

Officials thought the bodies were going to other medical schools that needed corpses for their classes.

But the firm, National Anatomical Service, sold the bodies to the army.

The revelation comes days after two men were arrested on the West Coast on suspicion of illegally selling off bodies donated to the medical school at the University of California at Los Angeles.

'Regulated but uncomfortable'

Tulane gets up to 150 bodies a year but needs only up to 45 for classes, Mary Bitner Anderson, co-director of the medical school's Willed Body Programme, was quoted as saying by the Associated Press news agency.

The New Orleans-based university said it found out about what happened to the seven bodies in January 2003.

It suspended its contract with the New York-based National Anatomical Service last month.

Chuck Dasey, a spokesman for the Army's Medical Research and Materiel Command in Fort Detrick, Maryland, said the army had been sold the seven corpses for between $25,000 and $30,000.

The bodies were blown up in tests on protective footwear against land-mines in Texas.

"There is a legitimate need for medical research and cadavers are one of the models that help medical researchers find out valuable information," Mr Dasey was quoted as saying by the Associated Press news agency.

"Our position is that it is a regulated process. Obviously it makes some people uncomfortable," he added.

Military researchers have been using cadavers for years in different projects, many of which involve explosive devices.

But some experts said the military's use is questionable as donors did not expect their loved one end up being blown up.

UCLA halts probe-hit body scheme
10 Mar 04  |  Americas
Two held in UCLA cadaver scandal
09 Mar 04  |  Americas

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