University student expelled for posting video of human dissection online

A university student was expelled for posting footage of a human body being dissected in class.

The video of the cadaver – which had been donated for medical science – was shared on social media in violation of strict ethical rules.

The University of Dundee said the student’s behaviour was “not in keeping” with the institution’s values, while the Scottish government said the university “took appropriate action” as soon as the alarm was raised.

The body was bequeathed to the university to help train the next generation of doctors and scientists.

After the incident came to light, His Majesty’s Inspector of Anatomy for Scotland (HMIAS) launched an investigation.

The watchdog – which is responsible for policing the strict rules around the use of dead bodies – referred to the incident in its annual report to Scottish government ministers.

In the April 2022 to March 2023 report, which was published last week, Professor Gordon Findlater wrote: “There was only one serious incident requiring my intervention.

“An investigation into the incident was carried out by me and the university in question and appropriate action taken.”

The University of Dundee said it takes “all matters of compliance with the relevant legislation and our public duty as custodian of such donations with the utmost seriousness”.

The spokesperson added: “We are humbled and grateful when a person chooses to donate their body to support medical training and research.

“The conduct of the student in this instance was not in keeping with the values that we teach or expect from our students.

“We work closely with HM Inspector of Anatomy for Scotland and will take decisive disciplinary action against any student that does not meet our expectations, including termination of studies.”

Unless donors or their relatives consent to filming or photography, images should not be taken or broadcast.

Guidance from the Human Tissue Authority says it expects establishments “to take care not to compromise the dignity of the deceased, and to put systems in place to prevent the inappropriate use of images”.

Due to strict rules around the donation of bodies for medical science, the university said it was unable to confirm if the family of the person who donated their body had been informed of the incident.

A Scottish government spokesperson said: “Public confidence in the body donor programme in Scotland is essential for the ongoing education and training of healthcare professionals and for research.

“All of Scotland’s anatomy schools have strict rules that those who have selflessly donated their bodies are treated with dignity and the utmost respect.

“The University of Dundee took appropriate action as soon as staff were made aware of the incident.”

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