Morbidity and Mortality at UCLA

Ted William's son died of leukemia a few days ago, at UCLA Medical Center. John Henry Williams was most noted for having his legendary father's severed head sent to Alcor for cryogenic storage. Like father, like son: John Henry has arranged to be frozen at Alcor, as well.

Of all the fates for the posthumous body, freezing is among the most selfish and misguided. On the other hand, donating the body to medical schools is possibly the noblest. Anatomical gift programs had trained generations of medical students, and thus turn tragedy into a cause for optimism.

Which is why the other medical story out of UCLA is so disturbing. Parts of donated cadavers were allegedly sold to researchers. Up to 800 bodies were involved over six years.

Cadavers have been treated with disrespect before. Michael Chricton writes of his adventures on the Mass Pike with a severed arm at HMS in Travels. You could argue that the donators sign a contract, but breaking this contract is essentially a victimless crime.

Still, it's the thought that counts. These bodies were all somebody's children, someone's parents. Could you do this to the body of a family member? These criminals act like (forgive me) their head's not attached right.