Cadaver Shortage in Argentina Required Imports From U.S.

April 4, 2011
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imageFor the first time Argentina Customs had to deal with the importation of dead bodies into the country to solve a problem of lack of cadavers for medical training in the city of Mendoza; four cadavers were imported from Colorado in the U.S.

This is the first time that Argentina Customs had to inspect and authorize this type of shipment. The operation was coordinated by Dr. Matthew Roby, specialist in Trauma and Sports Medicine and director of the Laboratory of Cadaveric Surgery in the Central Hospital of Mendoza, Argentina.

“We always have enough bodies in stock, but this time we had to import four additional cadavers for our seminar,”

said Roby to ClarÌn.com (in Spanish).

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“We thought it would be more difficult to enter the bodies, but the process took just a few days,”

added Roby.

The Seminar was part of KLEOS Medical International program of surgical training related to orthopedics and traumatology for medical professionals in Latin America. The bodies were purchased through an export license obtained by Science Care Inc. with Headquarters in Phoenix, AZ, and the shipment originated in Denver, Colorado. Each cadaver cost US$ 4,000. The bodies were transported in individual boxes with 5 Kg of dry ice each. They arrived on March 17 to a customs warehouse in Mendoza via Santiago de Chile.

The cadavers originated from people who in life decided to donate their body for scientific research. The export documentation indicates that the bodies can only be used for medical and educational purposes. The specifications state that following use for scientific purposes the bodies must be cremated or buried. This type of donation is not permitted in Argentina.

Because of health safety standards, the bodies were imported without heads. Additionally, they had to be certified free of HIV and hepatitis B and C infection.

The seminar with participation of 24 medical doctors from Chile and Argentina was held during the past weekend at the Central Hospital in Mendoza.

Some of the techniques used for training of medical students and traumatology specialists include the use of synthetic models or live surgery. The use of cadavers for the practice of orthopedic surgery is very important because it allows for procedures in the joints without the risk of harm or injury to living patients. In this seminar 6 cadavers, including the 4 bodies imported from the USA, were operated with a cadaver for every four students. The practices were mostly focused on different types of orthopedic trauma such as fractures of the humerus, femur, clavicle, wrist and ankle which often occur in traffic accidents or in sport activities.

The Laboratory of Cadaveric Surgery of Central Hospital in Mendoza opened in November 2009. In 2010, KLEOS Medical established a partnership with Central Hospital to set up a training centre for surgeons in Latin America.

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