Bodies donated to Newcastle University used to train beauticians

Experts have hit out at Newcastle University after it emerged that bodies donated to the University have been used to train beauticians.

Image (of definitely 100% alive model) via Alluraderm.

When you donate your body to a university, you might expect that it would get used to train students at that university's medical school, or for the advancement of science, or maybe as part of a delightfully elaborate medical student prank.

Not so for all cadavers at Newcastle University, some of whom have been used to train beauticians in the cosmetic industry. Experts have expressed their outrage after it emerged the University has been using cadavers (deadies) to train beauticians on a two day cosmetic course.

"Cadaver abuse"

We know what you're picturing. Beauticians gathered around a corpse with make-up bags, trying to make the recently departed look hot. Applying layers and layers of foundation and telling corpse they'd look fabulous with some more eye shadow.

Fortunately, this was not the case. The course, held last month, involved dissection of the cadavers in order to "give attendees a better understanding of facial anatomy and physiology”.

However, experts have hit out at the course, outraged that bodies donated to science being used for non-scientific purposes.

Fazel Fatah, former president of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons hit out at the course, said:

“A cadaver dissection course geared towards non-medics beggars belief.

“How is a beauty therapist qualified to perform invasive treatments that require anatomy training? Non-surgical doesn’t mean non-medical.

“This is nothing but an abuse of donated cadavers whose study is meant to promote health and science – not the opposite, by ‘training’ unqualified people in subjects that could easily lead to endangering a vulnerable public.”

"Never been done before"

The course, organised by Functional Fascia, was advertised as a “never been done before” event, to give beauticians a better understanding of facial anatomy and physiology. Whilst there is nothing explicit in the agreement when you donate your body to a university, there is a common assumption that your body will be used for the advancement of science, not botox or the application of foundation layers.

The University responded yesterday, stressing that they had hosted the course but did not organise it.

Dr Debra Patten, Director in Anatomy and Clinical Skills at Newcastle University and Senior Lecturer in Anatomy, said: "Newcastle University hosted a two day course on facial anatomy in December 2015. The course was organised by Functional Fascia and delivered by an external, qualified and experienced anatomist of 10 years standing who currently teaches at several UK universities.

"The course comprised a taught element on facial anatomy and a practical dissection element to ensure participants gained a sound understanding of facial anatomy. Botox was not injected into the faces of cadavers and the aim of the course was to improve safety in this field.

"Here at Newcastle University, we are indebted to those individuals who donate their bodies for Anatomical Examination, and we work hard to ensure that the precious gift people make allows us to gain the highest understanding possible of the body's structure and movement. As always any Human Tissue Authority guidelines are strictly adhered to and all cadaveric material is treated with the utmost respect.

Participants who attended the course did gain a deeper understanding of anatomy in order to increase safety in their practice. However, we will not host this particular course again.

While predominantly our body donors are used to deliver anatomy teaching to medical, dental, speech science and speech therapy students, we also deliver anatomy teaching to paramedics and physiotherapists and to other practitioners who require knowledge of anatomy and physiology."

So if you donate your body there, there's a high chance it'll be used to advance science, but apparently a slim chance it'll be loaned out to other practitioners who fancy a crack at some medicine.

Beauty safety

A spokesman for Cosmetic Couture defended the course, saying it helped improve beautician's understanding of safety:

"The two days provided an invaluable resource for a small number of practitioners to study in depth the nerve structures of the face and to ensure that the highest level of safety and protection is offered to clients undergoing cosmetic procedures.

The utmost respect for the donors and donor families was presented as a prime concern in this class."