Where Do These Cadavers Come From?
Cadaveric surgical courses are highly useful in developing operative skills, however, the provenance of the cadavers themselves remains opaque. Trade in cadaveric parts is an important source of material for courses, and this has spawned the unique service of body brokerage. Body brokers, however, operate in an unregulated market and obtain bodies by exploiting family members' altruistic instincts and financial concerns. Unethical and illegal sale of body parts has been well-documented, while the use of cadavers for uses other than that consented by donors is also a key concern. Undoubtedly, cadaveric surgical courses would have used bodies sourced from brokers, and questions remain about the moral and ethical implications of this. We discuss this issue using an ethical and historical context as well as offering solutions to ensure the ethical sourcing of cadavers for surgical training.