Amputated Limbs: Disposal


Aug 19, 2003
In the end the guy turned out to be 'armless.

Security officials in southwest China recently had a nasty surprise when they found a man transporting two human arms, it's reported.

According to Pear Video, a 50-year-old man surnamed Zheng was approached by authorities at a bus station in Duyun, Guizhou province, after the limbs showed up on the station's security scanner on 31 July.

"I asked him what was in the bag, and he said it was an arm," a security guard told Pear Video.

According to the South China Morning Post, staff immediately detained him, suspecting that he had been involved in a murder.

However, Mr Zheng explained that he had been transporting the body parts for his brother, who had had them amputated after an electric incident. ...
It would seem that in Spain an amputee is responsible for collecting and disposing of his / her former limb.
Man who had leg amputated at Spanish hospital is warned he will be charged £1,300 if he does not come and collect it

A man whose leg was held at a Spanish hospital after undergoing an amputation will be forced to pay a fine if he fails to pick it up.

Bidasoa Hospital authorities in Hondarribia, Basque Country, Spain, urged the patient - whom they identified only by his ID card number - to collect the limb within ten days and foot the bill for its disposal.

Authorities said the patient is required to organise 'the removal and proper management, through a funeral company, of the human remains that are deposited in the Bidasoa Hospital'. ...

The declaration - which was published in the Official Bulletin of the Basque Country and was dated August 29 - said the amputee would have to accept cremation charges estimated at 1,500 euros (£1,300), in addition to a fine - thought to be roughly 400 euros (£350). ...

The president of the Defensor del Paciente (Patient Advocate) association in Madrid, Carmen Flores, ruthlessly criticised the decision and described it as 'ethically reprehensible'.

But the director of the Araso Funeral Home in Irun, Carlos Fernandez, claimed that such cases are by no means a rarity. ...

'When a person goes to the hospital and, out of necessity, they have to amputate a limb, the centre forces the patient to take charge of collecting and disposing of the amputated body part,' Fernandez said. ...
That's WEIRD. Do they make you take home your tumors and gall bladders too?
In modern countries, wouldn't this be considered medical waste and incinerated?

I don't know whether - or at what point - the relevant medical establishment draws the line between disposable tissues and a significant body part requiring formal disposal by a (e.g.) funeral home.

That may not be the real issue here ...

I'm not even sure this story reflects a general requirement or policy. For example, it's conceivable the patient was uninsured and the hospital declines to bear the disposal costs unless he pays. It's also conceivable the patient expressed a wish to retain the amputated limb or denied the hospital clearance to dispose of it, leaving them legally bound to hold onto it until he comes and retrieves it.
In the US all medical waste is disposed of by a medial waste disposal company and incinerated. Never heard of someone wanting a leg, although occasionally someone takes the gall stones for cuff links.