Visit the USGenWeb Project Website Visit the IAGenWeb Project Website

 What's New

Coordinator Contact

About Us

Return to the Home Page
Contact the Ringgold Cemeteries
Census the Ringgold Counties
 Ringgold County Churches
family pages links to family
Ringgold County IAGenWeb Copyright Statement
History Ringgold County
Ringgold County IAGenWeb History Records Project
Ringgold County IAGenWeb Lookups
Ringgold County IAGenWeb Mailing Lists
Ringgold County Maps IAGenWeb Project
Ringgold County IAGenWeb Messageboards
Ringgold County IAGenWeb Military
Ringgold County IAGenWeb News Clippings
Ringgold County IAGenWeb Obituaries
Ringgold County IAGenWeb Penny Post Cards
Ringgold County IAGenWeb Photographs
Ringgold County IAGenWeb Queries
Ringgold County IAGenWeb Resources
Ringgold County IAGenWeb Resources
Ringgold County IAGenWeb Site Map

This site is supported by
Friends of IAGenWeb
   

powered by FreeFind
 
    

 

GRAVE ROBBERY, 1896

Recently a number of cases of grave robbery have come to light, notably those at Des Moines, Vinton and Kansas City.

The question of anatomical material is a perplexing and aggravating one to most, if not to all, medical schools and we may as well be frank and honest about the matter and present the facts as they are. The average American citizen is a reasonable being and his practical nature enables him to grasp the situation when it is truthfully presented to him.

First, then, why are graves robbed of their sacred contents? Is it for ghoulish amusement on the part of medical students or for purposes of experiment?

We think these questions can be dismissed without discussion, as few are so illy informed as to believe that such are the motives that inspire to this revolting species of crime.

Under existing circumstances and laws, grave robbery has become practically a necessity. The necessity demanding it is neither a mean nor low one.

The sole purpose for which graves are robbed is the acquisition of that knowledge of the structure of the human body, without which neither medicine nor surgery can be intelligently practiced and their inestimable results given to a suffering race. Only by the careful dissection of the dead body can such knowledge be obtained. The motive then that inspires to grave robbery is neither a base nor a mean one, but has in view the greatest good to the living generations of earth. A live man is worth all the inanimate clay that can be brought together. If then the dissection of the dead may prolong life and relieve suffering it must be done, cost what it may. It will be done. There is no question about it.

These then are the plain facts and as facts must be met and considered. Dead bodies must be provided in some way or graves will continue to be robbed in the future just as they have been in the past. We do not say this in any sense to justify grave robbing but from an intimate knowledge of the requirements of the case.

Further, it is to the best interests of all that this work be done. It is a work of necessity. All are then equally interested in a proper solution of the problem.

There are only two points to be settled: First, how may the graves of our people be safe from desecration by medical schools? And, second, how may medical schools be supplied with anatomical material without stealing it? It is absolutely impossible to settle the one without the other, for the material will be obtained no matter how stringent the laws preventing it.

A bill is now before the legislature, or soon will be, bearing upon the solution of these questions. We are not informed as to its contents but presume that it is wisely drawn.

We believe that an abundant supply would be provided for all our state schools by turning over the dead from the penitentiaries and poor houses. Upon this class the state has some claims and it is certainly better to use it for this purpose than to furnish the material from our cemeteries.

It would be but proper and humane to exempt certain of the criminal and pauper class those whose dead bodies are claimed at death by immediate relatives, parents, children, brothers and sisters.

We trust that the present agitation of the question will be wisely met by the legislature now in session.

SOURCE:   Iowa Medical Journal: Directory of Iowa Physicians and Surgeons Vol. 1. No. 11. Pp. 574-75. The Kenyon Printing & Mfg. Co. Des Moines. February, 1896.

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, May of 2009


You are our visitor!
Thank You for stopping by!



© Copyright 1996-
Ringgold Co. IAGenWeb Project
All rights Reserved.