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Donating a body to science: new rules come into effect after the cadaver scandal in Descartes’ Paris

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Maria Gill
Maria Gill
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With the arrival of a new decree, bodies awarded to science will be subject to specific rules, overseen by a “Committee on Scientific Ethics”, to ensure that a scandal such as that concerning corpses at the Center for Donation Bodies in Paris Descartes does not happen again.

From now on, every body donated to science will be subject to a very special scrutiny. a decree featured in Official Gazettea law of stricter rules and new protocols according to the Code of Bioethics, in order to treat the body with dignity and avoid a new scandal such as the Paris Descartes scandal.

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Among the main changes: the cost of transporting the body to the reception center (so far paid by the family), the creation of a “Scientific and Educational Ethics Committee”, among others responsible for advising on “training programs and research projects that require the use of donors”.

The text also details “creation of files”, “agreements with third parties” or even “licensing terms relating to certain organizations”.

Formation of the Scientific Ethics Committee

This is the main measure of this text. This completely new committee will consist of “ten to twenty members” who are all “teachers, researchers in health or humanities and social sciences” depending on the institution. The interest of this or that research being conducted with a body shall be decided by issuing a “scientific, technical and ethical opinion”.

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The members of this committee can serve for a maximum period of four years, and the term is renewable only once. This awareness of the experience that must be provided to dead bodies directly reflects the catastrophe caused by Descartes’ Paris scandal.

Mutilated corpses in Descartes’ Paris

Corpses are gnawing at rats, others headless or without arms, some serve as a shelf … Paris Descartes Medical University was at the center of a scandal two years ago for its neglect of corpses given to science. The former president of the university, Frederic Dardel, was even charged with “assaulting the integrity of a corpse.” Executing this script tends to prevent this from happening again.

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Center for cadaver donation: Paris University accused of “assaulting the integrity of a corpse”

In this regard, the decree takes all precautions and specifies that each reception center must at any time be able to provide “medical teaching activities and research projects implemented”, “personnel movements” or even “training procedures prepared for personnel”.

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