She donated the body of her husband, who died of COVID-19 to science, but she was outraged because it was cut and paid for in a public "show".
The event was organized by a company called Death Science, which charges between $ 100 and $ 500 for "anatomy classes" for non-specialized audiences.
The body of David Saunders, a 98-year-old Louisiana man who died of COVID-19 in August, was lying on a cold table. In front of him, a doctor stands, wearing surgical clothes and a scalpel with which he cuts and dissects the skin and organs of his corpse in an autopsy that has a disturbing peculiarity: it is public and paid.
The cooling event was created by a company called Death Science and another organization called Odyssey and Curiosity Expo and is called a kind of "corpse lab".," a kind of open show where people pay their admission can watch live and live an autopsy on an actual corpse.
They can also wear gloves and touch freshly amputated limbs, all at $ 500 per person.
This was reported last week by the King 5 News network. This Seattle television station infiltrated a journalist into the event and recorded the entire conference with a hidden camera. The station posted images of the hotel in Portland, Oregon, and in its subsequent research, managed to speak directly to Death Science CEO Jeremy Ciliberto, a tiktoker with more than a million followers, artist, and amateur filmmaker.
According to the media, Ciliberto affirmed that the laboratory from which he obtained the corpses established in its contractual agreements with the families of the deceased that their bodies were to be used for scientific research and medical education. However, Elsie Saunders, David's wife, says otherwise.
In a subsequent interview with The New York Times, the widow claimed that she never imagined that when she donated her husband's body to medical research, it would end up in a showroom at an event that third parties would profit from.
"My impression is that it was strictly for medical science, not for her body to be displayed, "Elsie Saunders said.
Describing the event as "morbid," he said he had found out through news reports and was "trying to pull me together."
Five hundred seats for people to watch, it's not science, it's commercialism, "Saunders said.
Her husband's body was blurred in the photos. On one occasion, however, it appeared that a man was holding his body parts in his hands and placing them on a level.
Kyle Miller, who had been serving as Death Science spokesman until Thursday, told the New York Times in an email on Wednesday that the company had sold tickets to the general public. Seventy people attended a "workshop" where "participants were able to observe the anatomical discussion of a complete human body," he said.
For his part, Ciliberto, the founder of Death Science, said his goal was to "create an educational experience for those interested in learning more about human anatomy."
"We understand that this incident has put undue pressure on the family, and we apologize for that," he added.
The matter is now being investigated by authorities, who have said they do not believe the incident, although morally objectionable, violated any particular law.
"There are no criminal laws that speak directly to such circumstances," said Lt. Nathan Sheppard, the Portland Police Office spokesman.
The Oregon Department of Health did not respond to requests for comment.
The one who did was Kimberly DiLeo, Multnomah County's chief medical-legal death investigation, who pointed out that David's brain and organs had been removed during what she described as a "public pay-per-view event."
"It is completely immoral and unethical," he said, reiterating that the events are being actively investigated to determine if he violated laws, such as the abuse of a corpse.
For his part, Martin McAllister, general manager of the Portland Marriott Downtown Waterfront hotel, said in an email that his team was "misled by the customer about the nature of this event."
But the most shocked remains Mrs. Saunders. When her husband died of COVID-19 last August, she tried to donate her body to Louisiana State University Medical School. But the school rejected the body because it died of an infectious disease.
She then went to a Baton Rouge funeral home, which referred her to Med Ed Labs in Nevada, which says it provides corpses to military, government, commercial, and nonprofit organizations.
Med Ed Labs obtained the body from the Baton Rouge funeral home and shipped it to Las Vegas and then Portland.
According to Nassiri, he has contacted Mrs. Saunders to apologize for what happened.
"She was worried that the company would follow us and sell tickets for the event to people who were not medical staff or students, "he said.
According to The New York Times, Death Science had paid around $ 10,000 for the entire event, including the use of the corpse, its transportation, and personnel.
The body of David Saunders has been flown to Las Vegas in his hometown of Louisiana. Med Ed Labs has said it would pay for his cremation and an urn.