Hospital seeks advice on buying human body parts

Uncertainty about Swedish rules governing trade in human body parts has prompted Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm to seek guidance on its plans to buy human body parts to overcome a shortage of donated cadavers.

Hospital seeks advice on buying human body parts

The hospital wants to be able to buy human body parts from a private company in order to ease a shortage which hampers the training of doctors.

The medical school has long suffered a shortage of donated bodies and has sought the advice of the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) to gain guidance on purchasing body parts.

The problem being is that it is currently forbidden to purchase body parts from profit-making companies and even if the hospital is run on a not-for-profit basis, the suppliers may not be.

Senior physician Jan Kumlien, who is in charge of education at the university hospital, was unable to comment on the hospital’s plans.

“I am in the consultancy room at the moment and can’t talk about it,” he told The Local on Tuesday afternoon.

In its correspondence with the welfare board, the hospital has stated it wants to ascertain if a deal with Life Legacy, a private foundation in the US, can be implemented.

The foundation is a private organisation but is run on a not-for-profit basis and according to its website it is approved by the authorities. It states that it functions as a biobank and utilizes body parts and other tissues from donors.

Over a year ago the medical daily Dagens Medicin reported that two companies, Surgical Training Concept in Gothenburg and Swemac Orthopaedics in Linköping, sold anatomy courses at the university hospitals in the respective cities.

The courses featured the use of imported body parts, such as arms and legs.

After the revelation came to light the National Board of Health and Welfare reported the two companies to the respective public prosecution office.

Prosecutors opened investigations which were later closed due to lack of evidence.

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