Medical students take part in a class to practice surgery on donated corpses at the Surgical School of Paris (Ecole de Chirugie AP-HP) on June 13, 2020, in Paris
PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP via Getty Images
  • French authorities have now taken over the investigation into a report that bodies that were donated to science were reportedly found rotting and being eaten by rats, the Guardian reported.
  • The bodies were donated to the Centre for Body Donations at Paris-Descartes University and were "left to decay in unsanitary conditions," French newspaper L'Express reported in November 2019.
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French authorities are investigating claims that bodies, donated for science to the Centre for Body Donations at Paris-Descartes University, were left to rot and were eaten by rats, the Guardian reported.

According to the BBC, the French newspaper L'Express first reported about the conditions in November 2019, writing that for over a decade thousands of bodies were "left to decay in unsanitary conditions."

L'Express found that dozens of bodies were stored "nude, decomposing, piled up on gurneys, with their eyes wide open."

The scene of the bodies was described by L'Express as "a mass grave." Some of the bodies were stacked on top of each other and some were being nibbled on by rats.

Some of the bodies were also sold to private companies, including to be used as car crash tests, the report alleged. Additionally, some of the bodies were "so badly putrefied that they had to be incinerated without being dissected," the BBC reported.

According to the Guardian, prosecutors handed the investigation over to magistrates, who have broader power to investigate.

"This is very good news," Frederic Douchez, a lawyer for families who pressed charges, said of the investigation of the case, according to the Guardian. Around 80 complaints about the situation have been made.

Back in November, the university admitted that the center did not meet expectations for "societal demands for respect for dignity," the BBC reported.

"Paris-Descartes University wishes to apologise to families about this situation," a statement on the university's website (in French) said. "The university wishes to clarify and reaffirms its full commitment to the dignity of donors and their families."

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