News and Blogs

Recycling Corpses is Big Business

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The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
July 17, 2012

Part 1 of a four-part series

The business of recycling dead humans has grown so large you can buy stock in publicly traded companies that rely on corpses for their raw materials, a new investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has found.

“Skin and bone donated by relatives of the dead is turned into everything from bladder slings to surgical screws to material used in dentistry or plastic surgery,” according to Gerard Ryle, the director of ICIJ, which is a project of The Center for Public Integrity.

Read the full article at The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists


When Mortality Smacks You In The Face

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The Family Plot Blog
July 17, 2012

Josh Slocum, Executive Director of the Funeral Consumers Alliance (FCA), spends his entire day on a soapbox telling people why funeral planning, advance directives and discussing your choices are important. You’d think he of all people would have his affairs in order.

Imagine his surprise in December 2010 when a heart attack struck him at the age of 36.  Mortality rudely slapped his face and he was not prepared.

Read the full article in The Family Plot Blog


Calculating The Value Of Human Tissue Donation

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July 17, 2012

Part one of a four-part series.

The story of how Chris Truitt went from being a tissue industry insider to an industry skeptic starts with a family tragedy.

In 1999, his 2-year-old daughter Alyssa died of a sudden health complication. Truitt and his wife, Holly, donated their daughter's organs and tissue, which saved the life of another young girl, Kaylin Arrowood.

The Truitts became close friends with Kaylin's family and then advocates together, telling others to donate. That led to a career change for Truitt, who took a job on the tissue side of the business for the organ bank in Madison, Wis., where he lived.

Read the full article and listen to audio (12:59) at NPR


Informed Consent: What You Should Know When Donating Your Body


To bury or cremate may depend on faith

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Houston Chronicle
Friday, July 13, 2012

When it comes to death, the words of Benjamin Franklin are often quoted. While he threw taxes into the mix, it can't be denied that death is indeed the one thing we all have in common.

Whether we worship in a mosque, synagogue, temple or church, death brings out rites and rituals as varied as the many religions in this world.

What's considered sacrilege in one faith is revered in another, particularly when it comes to cremation. And sometimes, the rules change.

Read the full article in the Houston Chronicle

Thanks to the HVCC Mortuary Science Alumni & Student Assoc for alerting us to this article.


Bizarre history of the word "Morgue"

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Order of the Good Death Blog
July 13, 2012

The word morgue has a bizarre history.  The initial definition (in French) was morguer- to stare, to have a fixed and questioning gaze.  What you were meant to stare at were unidentified dead bodies – in a world before fingerprints, dental records, and DNA.

In the late 1800's, the Paris morgue became the place to see (dead bodies) and be seen (looking at dead bodies).  People would come by the thousands a day to look at the unidentified dead in the morgue; it was public death theater.  Spectacle!

Read the full article at Order of the Good Death Blog


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