Thursday, July 3, 2008

Medicins Dentiste Sans Frontieres

Christine Kearney at Reuters reports on this case. I love the last sentence.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New Jersey dentist behind a scheme to steal body parts from corpses, including that of British journalist Alistair Cooke, was sentenced on Friday to a minimum of 18 years and a maximum of 54 years in prison.

Michael Mastromarino, 44, in March admitted to leading a $4.6 million operation that stole body parts from funeral homes in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

The ring dismembered more than 1,000 cadavers in unsanitary conditions, and sold them to doctors who transplanted them into patients.

"I am sorry for the emotional pain I have caused," Mastromarino told the court, repeating an apology he made to victims and relatives of the dead earlier this month.

State Supreme Court Judge John Walsh made no comment as he sentenced Mastromarino, who had pleaded guilty to body stealing, reckless endangerment and enterprise corruption.

"His sick, disgusting and appalling actions all in the name of greed have devastated my family," Dayna Ryan, 44, told the court.

Ryan contracted Hepatitis B when she was a recipient of stolen body parts during a lower spine operation.

As part of the scheme, a team of so-called cutters removed bones, skin and tendons in an unsanitary embalming room, prosecutors said.

"He fully recognized the gravity of what he has done," Mastromarino's lawyer Mario Gallucci said outside court. "He cut some corners and that is why he is here today." (emphasis mine)

Some thoughts:
1. Ewwwww.
2. Some corners? Did he actually use the word "cut?!" He apparently skipped the semester on public relations in law school.
3. What the hell did he want with Alistair Cooke's body? Was he a fan of Omnibus or Masterpiece Theater?
4. Does this make me an Anti-Dentite?


Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Burke and Hare live! I guess I always thought that body snatchers were urban legends.

Doc said...

Nice reference. The Body Snatching movement caught on in London, and in the US in those days. The "Burkers," as they were called in the UK, would ply down on their luck folks on the street with room, board, whiskey and laudanum. Sounds a bit like one of my all time favorite flicks, "Arsenic and Old Lace."

Erudite Redneck said...

I often am glad I haven't just eaten when I stop by here.


Anonymous said...

I didn't know it was possible to transplant body parts from a corpse after it started to decompose.

I wonder what bits of Alistair Cooke went missing?

Doc said...

It isn't, with some parts, but certain organ tissue can last for quite a while--in terms of hours. The deed was performed on many cadavers prepared for cremation, organs were frozen, and pipes inserted in lieu of bones (if removed). Unsuspecting bereaved received "cremains" none the wiser. Other cadavers, not for cremation, had organs removed and frozen, and if viewing was involved, lower extremities only would be harvested.

Now aren't you glad you asked?

Thanks for stopping by.

Anonymous said...

Interesting explanation, thanks. And yes, I am glad I asked.

Great blog--I'll be back.