Hospital workers ‘used human heads as footballs at university like a mass grave’

Fresh details have emerged about the French university accused of selling corpses meant for medical research for use as crash test dummies where it is now claimed staff used human heads "as footballs."

The scandal erupted at the Centre de Don des Corps (CDC) in the Paris Descartes University in the French capital Paris, where people had donated the bodies of their loved ones believing they were helping medical students with their studies.

Instead, the bodies were abused with allegations that some ended up being sold as crash test dummies, while others were sold off to private companies for research.

Latest reservations are that staff even sold skulls, skeletons and body parts from their car boots. A body fetched around 900 EUR (760 GBP) and a limb 400 EUR (340 GBP).

French media, which claims to have documentation proving that the authorities knew what was going on there, said that workers who butchered corpses there for minimum wage have come forward as whistleblowers.

Two former workers, identified as Leopold and Jacques (not their real names), have spoken out about the situation.

Leopold told local media: "What I saw at the Centre de Don des Corps (CDC) was an absolute horror. The working conditions were atrocious, the pipes were always clogged.

"We were up to our ankles in it, we were wading in it all day long. The smell was unbearable.

"Ethics are important to me. We have a duty to honour donors."

Leopold claimed that some colleagues showed no respect for the corpses, adding: "Some workers played with the bodies, using their heads as footballs and kicking them in the corridor."

Meanwhile, Jacques said there was a tradition at the CDC to "slap the dead [across the face] before injecting them with zinc chloride. The bodies had no value other than a market value."

He also claimed: "There was illegal activity involving surgeons who wanted bodies to be made available directly with the workers without going through the normal procedures. They paid for them 'under the table'."

According to France Inter, a former manager of the CDC, who has not been named, said the place bordered insanity. Referencing the 1975 film with Jack Nicholson, they are quoted in local media as saying: "The CDC was like One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."

According to local media, the CDC was previously embroiled in a scandal in 2016 regarding the treatment of corpses when 50 families filed complaints.

Dominique Horde, former secretary-general of the Centre, described the premises as a "mass grave".

Recently, the centre has allegedly supplied cadavers for medical students to dissect that were infected with HIV or hepatitis B or C without warning them beforehand.

Local media said the university authorities were aware of the situation, and general poor conditions of the centre, but chose to ignore communications sent to them on the matter.

It is unclear whether the Paris authorities are investigating the centre over the allegations.

One social media commentator said: "Shame on you, you have forever sullied French medicine!"

Another netizen commented: "I'm ashamed of my country, I'm ashamed of your disinterest on this matter. Your silence on this subject is sickening."

The Paris Descartes University was one of the inheritors of the University of Paris (often referred as the Sorbonne), which was split into multiple separate institutions in 1970.

Paris Descartes completely merged with Paris Diderot University in 2019 to form a new University of Paris.

This latest scandal broke in November 2019 when the French magazine L'Express revealed the shocking conditions at the facility. In February 2020, a protest march took place outside the Faculty of Medicine.

Earlier in February, 35 families of donors had filed a lawsuit over the conditions their loved ones' bodies had been subjected to.

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