Friday, August 7, 2015

Grave Robbing For Freaky Friday...!

I know most of us have heard how graves were robbed for supplying medical schools with training aids. However, there is a part of this sad practice that we were not told about as a rule.

At one point, there were squads formed to protect the fresh graves from being emptied. In some cases, riots broke out to try and force some positive action from the PTB. Here is the history of some of the early attempts at protecting the dead.

The Deadly Riots To Stop Grave-Robbing In 18th-Century New York
By Heather Ramsey on Wednesday, August 5, 2015

In April 1788, New Yorkers rioted against New York Hospital doctors and medical students who were practicing on cadavers that had been robbed from graves. The riot left up to 20 people dead and propelled the living to form “Dead Guard Men” groups to protect the dead in cemeteries. There were at least 17 similar riots over grave-robbing and dissections between the mid-18th and the mid-19th centuries. In the 21st century, dead bodies have become big business. Even bodies donated to medical schools have sometimes been stolen, stripped for parts like a car and illegally sold for personal profit.

In the 18th century, doctors weren’t required to graduate from an accredited medical school. So some students in New York took less-formal classes at New York Hospital, which emphasized the dissection of cadavers as a training tool. Without a consistent source of bodies, however, the med students began to steal them from area cemeteries for poor people and African Americans. Although they didn’t demand that the robberies stop, both slaves and free black men petitioned the Common Council to treat the corpses of their relatives and friends with respect.

However, nothing happened until a white woman’s body was taken from a church cemetery. Then the public got mad. There are conflicting stories as to how the riot started. But most of the doctors and medical students ran for their lives. Their medical specimens were set on fire.

The “Doctors’Riot” of April 1788 left up to 20 people dead and propelled the living to form “Dead Guard Men” groups to protect corpses buried in cemeteries. There were at least 17 similar riots over grave-robbing and dissections between the mid-18th and the mid-19th centuries. These riots spurred the passage of legislation to regulate the use of cadavers and outlaw grave-robbing. However, the theft of bodies continued, just more quietly.

Grave-robbing may seem barbaric to us now. But even in the 21st century, dead bodies are big business. Almost every corpse is a potential source of profit. Obviously, hearts, kidneys, and livers can be used for life-saving transplants. But bones, cartilage, corneas, ligaments, skin tissue, tendons, and veins are also in great demand. A lot of people refuse to donate organs for transplant, so prices for body parts remain high, whether trade is occurring in the legal or illegal areas of the market. Even the body of Alistair Cooke, once the host of Masterpiece Theater, was stolen and sold for parts.

However, more than profits is at stake. These bodies and body parts aren’t treated with the proper safety protocols. As a result, unnecessary diseases can be spread to patients who receive stolen body parts. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous doctors are still engaging in the theft of dead bodies. But this time, they’re not practicing medical techniques for educational purposes, they’re selling parts for profit. (Note: This does not include Planned Parenthood. The heavily edited Planned Parenthood videos in the news lately have been widely debunked.) Some nurses, funeral directors, and others are also involved in this illegal trade. Poor people are still often the target.

Sometimes, people’s bodies have been plundered before the viewing at a funeral home. There have been cases where a corpse’s leg bones were sawed off, then plastic pipe was screwed into the affected areas before the skin was sewn up. When pants were put over the pipe legs, families couldn’t tell what had happened.

Thousands of families have sued after discovering their loved ones’ bodies have been stolen from funeral homes and crematoriums. Even bodies donated to medical schools have sometimes been stolen, stripped for parts like a car and illegally sold for personal profit.

I borrowed this story from the folks over at Knowledgenuts. I figured this was an unpleasant part of history that we should know. Pretty freaky, wouldn't you say?

Coffee on the patio today. Temps are predicted to be 101 and may go higher!


Gorges Smythe said...

Utter depravity.

Chickenmom said...

Reminds me of the old Frankenstein movies! As an aside, I noticed that the owner of that website, Jamie Frater, apparently he didn't watch all of the PP videos so far.

Wade Herod said...

Evidently he didn't watch the over 3 hours of posted video. If you want the complete story you would have to watch all of it.

Of course it was edited, just like NBC, ABC and CBS edit videos.

Hermit's Baby Sis said...

Bubba -
We have all heard of the stealing of cadavers for study, a shameful, but very necessary practice in my opinion.
I am surprised at your mention of the "totally debunked and edited" videos of PP. I firmly believe it has happened and continues to happen at PP.
I do intend to donate all portions of my body for transplant, whatever can be used after I'm through with it. But not for sale. Maybe if more of us donated, there would be less selling ...I'm just saying ...
Hugs -

linda m said...

I think the selling of body parts is just awful. I know medical schools need bodies for potential doctors to learn from and people need body parts for lifesaving transplants. However, these should be donated parts not bought parts. As Baby Sis said more of us should donate. Have a great weekend.

Dizzy-Dick said...

Remember the blogger Ben in Texas (An Old Texan Remembers)? Ben Woods 3-17-1946 to 6-23-2012, he died unexpectedly but had arrangements made for his body to be put to good use. Me? I am wearing mine out (grin).

JO said...

I have read some of this before. what a sad way to make money but some of those robbers where starving not that it made it right. I will be donating.

We are having more humidity to go along with heat.

HermitJim said...

Hey Gorges...
I have to agree with you. Older practices seem out of place in this day and age.
Thanks for stopping by today!

Hey Phyllis...
Many folks just write what they want, not having all the information.
Thanks for coming by today!

Hey Wade...
Like all articles and videos out there, some folks only use the parts that they deem important. Often the whole picture is not even investigated.
Thanks for the visit today!

Hey Sis...
I think you might be under the impression that I agree with the practice of what PP did or is doing. I merely quoted the complete article as it was written, which is the proper way to handle a quote. I did not write the article...did not say I agreed with the article, and did not edit the article. I merely posted it (plus a link to it) and in fairness, I used the complete article, unedited, as is proper when using someone elses work.
Thanks for stopping by today!

Hey Linda...
Couldn't agree with you more.
Thanks for the visit today!

Hey Dizzy...
More folks should do like Ben and make plans known before they pass. Makes it easier for those left behind!
Thanks for dropping by today!

Hey Jo...
I part of history I was talking about was the riots, not the act itself.
Thanks for coming over today!