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Licences to be required to display human bodies amid consent concerns

“Were the bodies obtained with the proper consent and according to the proper standards, which we would expect of practice in this country?”

The Real Bodies exhibition in Dublin.
The Real Bodies exhibition in Dublin.
Image: Leon Farrell/RollingNews.ie

THE IRISH MEDICAL Council has raised concerns over the displaying of human bodies as an exhibition which shows 14 preserved bodies runs in Dublin.

The Medical Independent reports that the Department of Health envisages that a new act will see those wishing to display bodies needing a licence.

It follows concerns Medical Council raised over the Real Bodies exhibition which is running in the Ambassador Theatre on Parnell Street.

It shows “14 perfectly preserved human bodies and more than 200 anatomical specimens”. The Medical Independent quotes Medical Council CEO Bill Prasifka who says that there are questions about consent.

“Were the bodies obtained with the proper consent and according to the proper standards, which we would expect of practice in this country? So it really is just a very straightforward concern.”

A spokesperson for the Department told the paper that under the upcoming Human Tissue Bill that “a licence will be required from a designated authority for public displays of bodies after death”.

The bill is currently undergoing public consultation on issues surrounding post-mortems, anatomical education, organ donation and the display of bodies.

Prasifka says that under the new law, the Medical Council would like to be involved in the licencing.

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“If there is a role, of course, we would want to occupy the space because we want to see the highest standards of medical practice prevail.”

The Rotunda Hospital, which leases the theatre, says that no issues have been raised  in relation to the exhibition.

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