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Ailing 'Dr. Death' to put own body on display

The Local · 5 Jan 2011, 12:03

Published: 05 Jan 2011 12:03 GMT+01:00

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The 65-year-old told the Bild daily he is suffering from incurable Parkinson's disease and intends to have his dead body put on display to "welcome" visitors to his exhibition.

"My wife Angelina Whalley, the curator of the Body Worlds exhibition, will plastinate my body. We are already making preparations for this," von Hagens told the paper.

"My plastinated corpse will then stand in a welcoming pose at the entrance of my exhibition. I want to be able to welcome my guests even after I am dead."

Von Hagens is no stranger to controversy. His latest initiative was to offer preserved body parts for sale in a so-called "supermarket of death."

In a process invented by von Hagens, the body parts are skinned and preserved with a synthetic resin, laying bare the naked muscles, nerves and tendons underneath.

At the centre in Guben, eastern Germany, a blackened smoker's lung sells

for €3,600 ($4,772), while a testicle costs €360.

In 2002 he conducted Britain's first public autopsy in 170 years despite the risk of arrest. And in 2009, he put on an exhibition in Berlin showing dead bodies having sex.

Story continues below…

He said the symptoms of his disease were becoming stronger day by day. "My movements are increasingly uncoordinated. I am losing the skills I previously had with my hands," he said.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

12:31 January 5, 2011 by xx.weirich.xx
Wow this man may have serious issues...
14:19 January 5, 2011 by ron1amr
He is quite a remarkable man for the work he has done in understanding the human body. I hope he will live longer. But for him to display his body immortalises his contribution to human kind. What ever people think of him, who else would do what he has and with such a passion.(Maybe the people that worked with him or for him) The people that watch his show really appreciate what he does and the in dept knowledge of all moving parts of the body.
14:35 January 5, 2011 by storymann
This is not art or entertainment to me..each to their own..

But..you play with matches you get burned,,you play with corpse's you get --------....
14:50 January 5, 2011 by Kayak
@storymann; Is your point that people die ***because*** they work with dead people?

If that's the case then I hope that the first doctor that cuts you open has looked at more than just text-books.
14:53 January 5, 2011 by storymann
Kayak,, a little humor ,,and I don't I said that you did.
16:03 January 5, 2011 by DinhoPilot
I think doctors and scientist already know alot of the human body... I don't need to see a dismembered person to know about the dangers of playing with a electric saw, neither to see people getting shot to know to danger of bullets so on.

I mean I can look those nice coloured books to know what is inside, and for students of medicine sooner or later they will see corpses and work on it. Although I understand the "educational" idea behind the concept its not very captivating... just my ops.
20:16 January 5, 2011 by wxman
Oh well. Live by the sword, die by the sword.
21:02 January 5, 2011 by Landmine
You reap what you sow I suppose.....
01:53 January 6, 2011 by Gretl
I have a problem with the corpses being executed Chinese. These are not people who donated their bodies to science. These may be petty criminals or political prisoners killed by China and their corpses sold. Hmm, need more corpses? Come back next week, we'll make sure we have 100 more for you!
07:48 January 6, 2011 by hOU
Some of the answers here, LOL

He's an ANATOMIST. This is what anatomists do. Y'know, like when a train driver gets in his cab and CHOOO CHOOOOOOOOOO all the way home.
11:56 January 6, 2011 by tallady
Really hOU,,I don't believe Anatomist as a profession go around showing lewd bodies in various states of decomposition around the junket circuit .
18:03 January 7, 2011 by Neuron_Theory
I've been reading The Local for a couple years, and this is the first time I've felt the urge to chime in. Let me first say, I'm a Chiropractor in the US, with a post-doctorate degree in Neurology. Through school and post-doc training I've had my hands on various cadavers, models, parts, and whatever else. When the bodyworlds exhibit came to Minneapolis a few years ago I went twice. Let me just say that I think a few trips through that exhibit should be REQUIRED for anyone in any health care field. You can work on all the models and cadavers you want, but to see some of those exhibits, especially the ones that are "posed" in various activities, is quite an eye opening experience. A cadaver lying on a table, slowly dissected by students over a few months time doesn't give you the appreciation for how a body moves, and how the structures react and change to movement. I spent a lot of time in the cadaver lab, and became quite adept at dissection, but a body shriveled from embalming fluid just doesn't look the same. I won't defend the sensationalism of posing bodies mid-coitus, but I'm sure even that has it's benefits. I've had patient's with back injuries from having sex after all. Just look at the picture above the article with the high-jumper. To be able to see everything under the skin can give you a real appreciation for how any number of injuries might occur, in any activity. It was great work, and I gained a lot from the experience. More probably than sitting with Netter's Atlas of Anatomy.
18:39 January 7, 2011 by storymann
I can agree with that doc,,but lets keep it scientific and for Medical purposes,anything beyond that is degrading to me..
07:39 January 8, 2011 by Neuron_Theory
I see your point of view too, storymann. Posing the bodies mid-sex is not appropriate. I still think the various other poses aren't a big deal. There is a few displays that really drive home some things to the general public too. Lungs of smokers, 300+ pound bodies with fat tissue surrounding the heart and organs, etc.
13:22 January 8, 2011 by ebbelwoiguy
Saw the Bodyworlds when in Offenbach last year. The whole plastination procedure is the best thing that can happen to a corpse...far better than burning or burying. The main benefit is to the living who can see the body as it really is.

The couple posed mid-sex was restricted to adults. The fact is sex is just as much a part of life as anything else and if anything deserves a much bigger share of the exhibition space. Those stuck in a prudish mindset need not enter.
13:20 January 9, 2011 by tallady
Thanks for that,,info I will pass on corpses having sex...in" life" or "death"
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