A PARIS university faces a criminal probe for leaving thousands of corpses to rot in rat-infested rooms before selling them as crash test dummies.
The Centre for Body Donations at Paris Descartes University is being investigated for allegedly selling donated bodies and parts for medical research to private companies.
A doctors’ union claims some corpses were sold on to be used in car crash safety tests.
A body fetched around £760 (€900) and a limb £340 (€400).
An investigation by French newspaper L’Express found bodies “nude, decomposing, piled up on gurneys, with their eyes wide open”.
Staff sold the bodies to surgeons before pocketing the money, according to Guy Vallancien, the university’s director from 2014 to 2018.
Mr Vallancien told The Times: “There was a traffic. Workers sold parts to surgeons who took them away on Saturday mornings.”
BODIES PILED UP
According to the centre, it provides bodies for medical students and surgeons from around the world to train on.
L’Express said it had seen photos of rotting bodies taken inside the medical centre from 2016.
The paper described it as a “a mass grave in the heart of Paris”, with bodies piled in overheated rooms for more than a decade.
Brigitte Mauroy, a former chairman of the centre’s ethical committee, said: “When I took up my post there in 2015, I discovered with horror that rats were running around the corridors and that the conditions in which the bodies were conserved were deplorable.”
Rats were running around the corridors and that the conditions in which the bodies were conserved were deplorable
Brigitte Mauroy, a former chairman of the centre’s ethical committee
She resigned in protest along with two other leading members of the centre over the scandal.
A doctors’ union boss branded the trade in bodies “chillingly frightening” and vowed to launch criminal action against the centre.
In a statement, the university admitted practices did not meet “societal demands for respect for dignity”.
The university said: “Paris-Descartes University wishes to apologise to families about this situation.
“The university wishes to clarify and reaffirms its full commitment to the dignity of donors and their families.”
The centre has been closed as government inspectors investigate.