Supply and demand: it applies to everything. In 2009, shortages of the radioisotope molybdenum-99 compromised diagnostic and therapeutic procedures in many hospitals. Two nuclear reactors responsible for about two-thirds of the global production were shut down for repairs. Inanimate and animate, the problems are the same. Egypt is currently debating ways to expand the legal transplantation of organs by passing laws to recognize brain death—a bid to stymie the sale of organs by the poor in one of the world's hubs for commercial trade in this commodity. Sale of body tissues is also big business, and it is not all legitimate. Again, it is usually the anonymous poor who bear the burden of illicit harvesting of bone, skin, collagen, etc. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time, the rich occasionally get caught up in this murky trade. Michael Mastromarino's illegal harvesting of human tissues from the dead of New York (he was subsequently convicted and imprisoned) included tissues from the veteran broadcaster Alistair Cooke (1908-2004).
Bynum H. The Anatomy Murders: Being the True and Spectacular History of Edinburgh’s Notorious Burke and Hare and of the Man of Science Who Abetted Them in the Commission of Their Most Heinous Crimes. JAMA. 2010;304(2):220. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.951
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