Plastinated bodies to be sold on internet

After commercialising the human body with lurid exhibitions of plastinated corpses, the controversial German anatomist Gunther von Hagens has moved into selling bodies and body parts over the internet. On his website, Plastinarium, he will be selling whole human bodies for about US$100,000. Torsos will be available for around $80,000 and human heads for $31,000. According to Dr von Hagens, his only customers will be scientists and medical experts – although how he will police this is not clear.

The technique of plastination involved replacing water and fat with reactive resins and polymers. The corpses are manipulated into various poses, ranging from sports to sex, and displayed as educational exhibits. An estimated 30 million people have seen von Hagens’s exhibits and he now has competitors.

Controversial as von Hagens already was, this new move sparked even more criticism – which he gleefully makes available on his website.

Michael Peintinger, spokesman for ethics and palliative care of the Vienna Medical Association, declared "What possible use is there for this for practising doctors? A man has been posthumously degraded to a commodity and his dignity has been deeply injured.” Manfred Lutz, a doctor and best-selling novelist, declared that it was “perverse” and a kind of “optical cannibalism”. Medical historian Christoph Mörgeli and detected in von Hagens’s business “a certain hostility towards science”. “Body parts for sale on the internet is just going too far. Von Hagens has stepped over the boundaries of legality and ethics. This seems criminal to me.” ~ London Telegraph, Nov 11

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