Seriously? World, what is going on?

Logan O'Keefe

Above are just some of the pills, now highly illegal, that South Korean customs have confiscated from Chinese smugglers. The pills have been found to contain the remains of fetuses and were thought to have healing powers in the Chinese community. 

Used with permission/BBC

South Korea has recently increased customs inspections that are targeting medical capsules containing powdered human flesh. 


     According to BBC, the Korean Customs Service has found 17,500 of these capsules smuggled into the country from China since August 2011.


     The powdered flesh is thought to cure some diseases and boost stamina. But officials have said that the capsules were full of bacteria and a health risk. 


     A customs official, who was quoted in “The Korea Times,” said: “It was confirmed those capsules contain materials harmful to the human body, such as super bacteria.”


     I have a problem with the fact that these capsules are casuing major health problems in Korea, but I also have another concern about the content of the capsules.


     What makes up the powdered flesh, you might ask? The answer is shocking: dead babies and fetuses. 

     I would think that the primary problem would be the fact that people are putting the powdered remains of humans in medicine because they think it has healing powers. Who came up with that idea? 

     The better question is who thought it would be a good idea to use these pills? Has the world health knowledge really gone to the wayside? 


     Yes, there are home remedies and old wives’ tales. Yes, there are countries that are not as advanced as the United States and who cannot afford modern medicine. Trust me, I want to be in Doctors Without Borders, so I know that there are countries who are unable to use pills etc. But, powdered human flesh? Does that scare anyone else? It seems to be bordering on the lines of cannibalism. 


     At the time the story broke in South Korea, China’s Health Ministry spokesman Deng Haihua said that China had “strict management of disposal of infant and fetal remains as well as placentas.” 


     Now, personally, I’m pro-choice, and I feel that women should be given the option to have an abortion or not. I don’t know that if I was in that position I would get an abortion, but it is the right of the woman to choose what is best for her own body. 


     However, I can’t condone the fact that there are countries that are taking remains of possible abortions or miscarriages and putting them into medicine. The remains should be disposed of in a proper manner, the one that China is supposedly following. 


     Next year I am attending the University of Dayton to major in pre-medicine with the aspirations of becoming a pediatrician one day and ultimately going into Doctors Without Borders to work with African children. 


     Although I’m not really qualified to make judgements about public health, I’m pretty sure that putting cremated remains of children into capsules and then giving them to people under the impression that they will cure disease is crossing the line set by the Hippocratic Oath. 


     If you don’t know what the Hippocratic Oath is, it’s an oath that physicians take promising to practice ethical medicine. It is thought that it was created by Hippocrates who was an ancient Greek physician and is regarded as the father of western medicine. 


     I’m quite sure that once physicans have taken the Oath, they are not allowed to do things such as put children’s remains into medial capsules. That falls securely in the unethical category.


     Haihua was also quoted saying, “Any practice that handles the [babies’] remains as medical waste is strictly prohibited.”

     Well obviously someone made a boo-boo because that is not what happened. 


     I’m not saying that other countries should be barred from practicing different medical techniques. I am all for remedies that are passed through generations, I still use them today. But, when medicine infringes on cannibalism, I draw the line. The World Health Organization (WHO) needs to figure out how to fix this because it’s a problem that needs change.


I just want to take a small minute to thank you for reading this column. I know that some of the topics I have covered have been controversial, and I know that not everyone has been happy with my viewpoint. That’s perfectly fine! I’m just happy that something I wrote sparked conversation. If I have made even one of you think about something that is going on in the world, then I have done my job. I encourage you to continue reading the news because it will certainly make you think about your place in the world. 



2012-05-17 10:00:40