Dilapidated buildings, decomposing corpses deposited on the ground and eaten by mice … In 2019, magazine scan Express He exposed the “inappropriate conditions” in which the Center de Donnes of the University of Paris Descartes kept the remains of those who had donated their bodies to science.
A year and a half after the center was closed due to this scandal, franceinfo reveals new discoveries. After an investigation, the channel discovered that the bodies preserved at Descartes – supposedly used for research development or to train young doctors – had been handed over to car manufacturers for use in crash tests.
900 euros for crash tests
Franceinfo, which was able to refer to a report from the General Inspectorate of Social Affairs (IGAS), explains that “37% of the center’s income in 2019 came from companies whose main target was industrial.”
An agreement – not found anywhere else in Europe – signed between the University of Paris Descartes and the European Center for Security Studies and Risk Analysis (CEESAR) allows this kind of practice. In detail, the document states that the remains can be provided for 900 euros per unit and 400 euros if it is just an “anatomical part”.
Note that the bodies given to Parisian faculty were also used for “military experiments,” for example to observe “what happens in a vehicle that jumps on a mine,” as explains to France Info Olivier Gagé, president of the scientific council of CEESAR, which states that all these Experiments are done to “protect” people who might find themselves in such situations.
Of course, these practices are not illegal. On the other hand, after interviews with relatives of the deceased, France Info notes that the individuals who did so with their bodies at the Paris Descartes Medical School were not necessarily notified of the use of their remains. ..
Descartes’ mass grave investigation: where are we?
The disclosure of the conditions for preserving the bodies endowed with science in Paris prompted Descartes, Minister of Higher Education, Frédéric Vidal, to order the closure of the donation center in 2019. It was founded in 1953.
In a report published on June 13, 2020, the Inspectorate General of Social Affairs (Igas) and the General Inspectorate of Education and Sports Research (Igésr) held the University of Paris Descartes responsible for “serious ethical violations”.
Searches conducted in 2020 at the Center du Don de Corps notably led to the discovery of dozens of bones, when the center was already closed and the building was supposed to be cleaned.
Thus the University of Paris – a new entity resulting from the merger of Paris Descartes and Paris Diderot in January 2020 – was charged with “assault on the integrity of the corpse”.
In this case, a former anatomy instructor who would have worked at the donation center from 1975 to 2011 was also indicted last December. Human bones and jewelry taken from the remains were reportedly found in his home.