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Grandma's Body Accidentally Sent to Be Dissected

But medical examiner's office insists body was never dissected
By Shelley Hazen,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 16, 2014 12:33 PM CDT
Grandma's Body Accidentally Sent to Be Dissected

Bronx morgue workers allegedly sent the corpse of an 85-year-old woman to be dissected at Albert Einstein College—despite the fact that her body was never supposed to be used as a teaching aide. Now, the family of Aura Ballesteros, who died May 16, plans to sue the city, the New York Daily News reports. State law dictates unclaimed corpses can be donated to medical schools or buried in Potter’s Field after 14 days, but son Hector had special permission from the medical examiner's office to keep his mother's body at the Jacobi Medical Center morgue until June 16 as he made funeral arrangements with his sisters in Colombia. Even so, her body was shipped to the medical school on June 2.

"The person (in the Bronx morgue) who took the call (from the main office in Manhattan) to hold the body failed to make a note of it," the medical examiner’s office chief of staff says, insisting the body was embalmed but never dissected before being returned. "Supposedly," Hector Ballesteros says, "all the organs and the brain are inside her. But, he adds, "the face is changed" after the embalming process. This isn’t the only recent flub for NYC’s medical examiner’s office, the New York Post reports—the agency is currently being investigated for possible misconduct. In one alleged incident, the wrong body was cremated; in another, the corpse of a 71-year-old woman was lost—and 300 bodies had to be exhumed in a vain attempt to find it. (More death stories.)

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