Intended for healthcare professionals


Doctors call for tighter UK rules on tissue importation after controversial Real Bodies exhibition

BMJ 2018; 362 doi: (Published 28 August 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;362:k3668
  1. Declan Murphy
  1. London

Regulations governing tissue importation into the UK should be tightened in the wake of ethical concerns about an exhibition of dead bodies from China, a group of doctors and others have argued.

Doctors, human rights activists, and MPs wrote an open letter to the prime minister and other political leaders on 6 August 2018,1 outlining concerns that human cadaveric specimens displayed in the Real Bodies exhibition in Birmingham could be executed prisoners of conscience from Dalian, in northeast China.2 The exhibition has stated that the bodies are “unclaimed” and that no documentation of consent has been provided.3

Exhibitions displaying plastinated human specimens are legal in the UK under the Human Tissue Act 2004. While the legal storage and use of …

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