By Carol Gentry
07/18/12 © Health News Florida
National Public Radio's All Things Considered has been broadcasting a compelling and eye-opening series on an industry that most of us know little about: tissue transplantation.
Part 1 of the series reveals that the parts of a dead person can be sold for as much as $80,000. Not the organs, of course, but most everything else -- tendons, bones, skin -- can be salvaged, frozen and sold for later use. What began as a charitable service has become a big international business, with little regulation.
Some uses of the body parts seem more worthy than others. A tendon can repair a knee; skin can help a burn victim. But by the same token, body parts can be used for cosmetic surgery.
Part 2 of the series explains that body parts are tracked with less care than a box of cereal. That matters when it turns out that the body they came from had a problem that was initially missed.
I'm looking forward to the next installment.
--Health News Florida is an independent online publication dedicated to journalism in the public interest. Editor Carol Gentry can be reached at 727-410-3266 or by e-mail.