Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween deadheading

Just in time for Spooky Day comes a story out of Dallas that puts a new twist on the term “deadheading.”

The Dallas Morning News reported on Oct. 30 that a Royse City, TX, police had pulled a trucker over for speeding on I-30 around 2:30 a.m. and, since the driver seemed a bit shifty, they checked the trailer.

In a scene that must have reminded them of some horror flick sequel, their flashlight beams fell upon 24 severed, embalmed human heads, neatly stored in plastic bags and other containers.

The driver’s paperwork didn’t include a manifest, so they held him until the company could fax it to them. According to the news report, police said the heads were bound for Little Rock after being used in medical training – he was on the last leg of the run, so to speak. The paperwork was in order – did they do a headcount? – so the police let the driver go and the heads rolled.

The story goes on to discuss the legal and ethical points of handling bodies and body parts that have been willed to science – including a great comment about shipping lettuce. We can’t reproduce it here because of copyright issues, but it’s worth clicking on the newspaper’s link above to read it.

I’m all for organ donation, and hope that stories like this don’t discourage people from passing on usable organs when they no longer need them. But when I was making that decision, I declined the opportunity to be some medical student’s special friend for a semester. This article makes me glad I did – if you’re in the trailer, the view never changes.