Criticism and praise for historic autopsy

Professor Gunther von Hagens should be commended for the idea and courage to stage Britain's first public autopsy since the 1830s, but it was not carried out in the appropriate manner.

Everyone should have the right to decide whether or not to explore the most personal and ubiquitous object that is the human body. It is a tragedy that members of the ‘medical elite’ can only usually experience this.

Gunther Von Hagens’ choice of timing to stage the (technically illegal) autopsy was both timely and controversial; the latter due to the three-year anniversary of the Alder Hey incident, where hundreds of dead children’s' organs were removed without consent.

Yet, it also afforded members of the medical profession a long-overdue chance to explain to the public what an autopsy entails, in very practical terms.

Falling autopsy rates in the UK are becoming detrimental to medical progress as they provide absolute confirmation of doctors' diagnoses and can significantly help with advances in the investigation of disease.

An increasing public understanding of autopsy procedure has become more important than ever as an uninformed person is ill equipped to make the best decision for the deceased.