Chris Dewald: Dem bones

I hope people render an input on this. I have been told I am too sensitive. In reference to an article that appeared in the News Leader. The specific article can be found here.

I think it is great for the City of Staunton to offer trick-or-treat events. What disturbs me is the apparent use of human bones bought from the local medical college in trick-or-treat displays. I am trying to verify what has been reported to that effect in the article. I sent e-mails on Thursday to various people involved in the city. I have also contacted the office of the Dean of Medicine at the University of Virginia, who in turn gave me the public-relations number.

To me, life is precious. We are only living human flesh and bones. Once we have died, some of us choose to have our lifeless bodies donated to science in the hope of studies in the medical field. Life is precious to me, and I respect the dead. When you are done with the shell, dispose of me properly. Don’t make a Halloween display out of my real bones.

I read this in the Commonwealth of Virginia VDH website:

What happens after the body is no longer needed in a medical program?

The disposition of the body is arranged by the school and the remains are either buried or cremated and cremains scattered in a respectful manner. You may inquire with the Anatomical Program regarding donor request for return of cremains. The bodies received are used strictly for the purpose of medical education in the instruction of anatomy and science. There are no autopsies performed and no pathological reports prepared.

So now what, Batman? I had two phone calls today. One call was from the medical examiner’s office, and the other phone call was from public-relations office at University of Virginia. Both offices advised that they adhere to the set program of proper disposal of human remains.

According to public relations at UVa. (a man named David Foreman), contact was made with a employee of Parks and Recreation in Staunton, and the skeleton was described as one being from a teaching or doctor’s office. It did not have the identification from being from UVa. As of 2:24 p.m. today (Oct. 29), I have not received any form of communication from any city department despite e-mail requests.

I do want to know, What now? I want to now from the readers, What say you?

Column by Chris DeWald


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