A worker complained to his boss about issues with rats, rot and mould in the organisation’s storage and days later found three severed heads on his desk.
Chicago-based worker Dale Wheatley voiced his concern in a body-part donating organisation after noticing the cadavers were being feasted on by rats in storage, making them unsuitable to send to medical schools.
Donations were being sent back to The Anatomical Gift Association of Illinois (AGA) by medical schools because of the disgraceful conditions, Wheatley said.
Speaking at a press conference, he said: “They’re sending donors back because of mould and rot, bugs. It’s deplorable.
“There’s been instances where I’ve pulled donors from our storing room out of the racks, and rats have chewed through the bottom of the bag, through the feet.”
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Alarmingly, in the five years Wheatley has been working at the organisation, the situation worsened according to the whistleblower’s lawyer.
He added that Wheatley had even advised a local university lab manager to contact AGA Executive Vice President William O’Connor directly over her distress at the state of the cadavers.
Writing to both Wheatley and his manager, the lab supervisor described how “flies were crawling on the bodies, that the limbs contained mould and rot, and that its students had become sick after being exposed to the bodies during the course of their studies.”
However, it seems that heads will roll for those who complain about conditions at AGA.
Rather than addressing the agitation Wheatley had voiced in the workplace, he was given a death stare from the three severed heads left on his desk.
He said: “My boss walked by, I asked him why the heads were at my desk. He said they need to get back with their bodies so we can send them to cremation.
“I said, I understand that, ‘Why are they at my desk?’ and he said, ‘I don’t know Dale, there’s a lot of strange things happening.”
Wheatley then immediately filed a report with the police.
He also pointedly corrected the AGA website’s claims that it upholds the “highest standards of responsiveness, respect, privacy, and security.”
He said: “Sometimes we do brain removals, and they’re not sewn up correctly.
“I take great pride in what it is I’m doing and I treat these donors with the utmost respect. I understand they made a donation to science to further help us.”
Waiting for years to be returned to families, scraps of dead bodies remain casted around the organisation, Wheatley revealed.
He said: “There are people that are in our cooler now that need their body parts back and they have been there for three years or more.
“Right now at AGA, we have a number of cremains that need to go back to the families, over hundreds of cremains, sitting at our AGA right now.”
Wheatley’s attorney David Fish, however, said his client will not be launching legal action against the organisation in the hope it “cleans up its act.”
Fish said: “We think it’s important that, when donors are being recommended to a particular place, their body is going to be treated with respect and dignity, and not be eaten by rats and other bug infestations.”