A woman who donated her husband’s body to science after he died was shocked to discover it had been blown up by the military instead. Jill Hansen hoped that Steve Hansen’s body might help with medical advancements and had no idea it might be given to the Army for testing instead.
- The Uniform Anatomical Gift Act is a wonderful thing. About 20,000 bodies are donated through the program every year. When a person or their loved ones sign off, they’re allowing their organs and their body to be used for education and research. However, that’s not always the case.
- Dead bodies don’t always end up where you think. Jill Hansen might have been horrified to learn what because of Steve, but it’s not all that rare. As FBI Special Agent Paul Micah Johnson told CBS News, there’s “a vast gray and black market of dead human bodies.”
- Why aren’t some bodies used for education and research? Well, according to the UAGA, they don’t actually have to be. “Medical research and education, particularly education, is a vague term and it is not clearly defined even in the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act,” Johnson explained. “The misleading of families across the industry is quite common.”
- Steve Hansen’s organs weren’t fit for donation. While he always wanted to be an organ donor, he had cirrhosis of the liver, so when he died in 2012, he wasn’t able to donate. So, hospice workers told Jill she should consider donating his body to science. “What I envisioned was him being in some medical facility,” she recalled. “I just thought, what a great candidate for them to learn about the results of alcoholism and what it does to a body.”
- However, that’s not what happened. Instead, his body was sold to the Department of Defense by the Biological Research Center in Arizona. The DoD decided to use Steve’s body to test out explosives. “They told me specifically that my husband had been used as a crash test dummy in a simulated Humvee explosion,” Jill revealed. This led to what court documents say was a “complete mutilation and desecration of donor’s body.”
- Jill Hansen wishes she never let Steve’s body be donated. “I was devastated,” she admitted. “I would’ve never done it if I had known. I just kept telling him I was sorry.”