November 4, 2021

The family thought they'd donated the man's body for medical research. Instead, Saunders ended up in a Portland Marriott hotel ballroom as the centerpiece of an autopsy and dissection before a live, paying audience.

Source: KING 5

SEATTLE — A man who died of COVID-19 was dissected in front of a paying audience, and his widow had no idea.

The family of David Saunders, 98, learned of the autopsy from a KING 5 investigation that exposed the Oct. 17 cadaver class in Portland, Oregon. A similar event in Seattle was canceled.

Event organizers sold tickets for up to $500 to the public to view in-person the autopsy and dissection of a human body. The event is part of the Oddities and Curiosities Expo, which travels across the country.

“It makes me really feel saddened that this gentleman was not given the dignity and the respect that he deserved and what he thought and his family thought that would be happening to his body,” said Mike Clark, a funeral director in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Clark handled the preparation of Saunders’ body as it was handed off to a private company that the family thought would use his corpse for medical research. Instead, Saunders ended up in a Portland Marriott hotel ballroom as the centerpiece of an autopsy and dissection before a live, paying audience.

Naturally, no one was too thrilled with this. The event in Seattle was cancelled as word got out. Oregon wasn't thrilled either. “We feel that this was not respectful and certainly not ethical,” Kimberly DiLeo, the chief medical death investigator for the Multnomah County, Oregon, medical examiner, reportedly said.

Jeremy Ciliberto, the expo’s organizer, told KING 5 that Saunders and his family did give consent.

“I can guarantee that that man knew his body would be used for medical research,” the founder of DeathScience.org reportedly said.

Med Ed Labs accused Ciliberto of being “beyond” dishonest about his intent for the corpse, according to the station.

Ciliberto cancelled a public autopsy in Seattle on Halloween following blowback from the article over the Oct. 17 event, the outlet reported.

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