The Newman or Sathyavaglswaran Case

Various cases have emerged over the past years in the United States in regard to ownership of dead bodies. Individuals claim that their bodies are their own property and there should be no alteration to them without consent.  However, this must be hard to prove since the constitution has does not provide any serious regulation in regard to dead bodies (Johnson, 2009). The law assumes that dead bodies are not termed as “property” and therefore medical practitioners are free to retrieve useful parts from them. Moreover, there is the aspect of presumed consent among individuals who die by accident and their relatives are never identified. Presumed consent provides that doctors can retrieve body parts from a dead body without their permission (Johnson, 2009). 

The law seems to favour medical personnel when it comes to ownership of dead bodies and retrieval of their body parts. This is because the law stipulates that dead bodies cannot be considered as property, and therefore they are not owned by anyone (Johnson, 2009). This means that the plaintiffs in the case “Newman v Sathyavaglswaran case”, parents have no right to claim ownership rights to the bodies of their children (Sperling, 2006).  

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Cheryl Orr argues that removal of corneas from the bodies of the Newman’s children was compelling with contradicting interests. Orr emphasizes on the aspects of personal and familial relationships. According to her, just because one is a relative of the deceased does not give them the mandate to decline removal parts from a body; the fact that at times relatives do not often keep in contact only to appear during death is of great emphasis. This is because these relatives may not have known the deceased better in order to prohibit removal of their body parts. These are examples of cases in which presumed consent of the deceased is allowed (Johnson, 2009). Moreover, Orr continues to emphasise that in the modern day, there are many ailing patients who are in need of organ transplants. Therefore, it is often considered useful to retrieve organs from the deceased before their viability reduces. This gives medical personnel the authority to extract body parts from the dead minutes after their death. In this case, there is usually no time to consult the relatives of the deceased (Johnson, 2009).        

My opinion of this case is that it is a simple case requiring the application of sense and simple rule in order to solve it. In my ruling, I would grant Newman the right to seek compensation for violation that was done to their children’s bodies. Indeed, bodies of the deceased should be accorded some respect and dignity. The will of individuals before their death and the will of the next of kin of the deceased should provide guidance on what should be done to dead bodies.  

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