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Don’t miss NPR series on tissue transplants

National Public Radio's All Things Considered has been broadcasting a compelling and eye-opening series on an industry that most of us know little about: tissue transplantation.

Part 1 of the series reveals that the parts of a dead person can be sold for as much as $80,000. Not the organs, of course, but most everything else -- tendons, bones, skin -- can be salvaged, frozen and sold for later use. What began as a charitable service has become a big international business, with little regulation.

Some uses of the body parts seem more worthy than others. A tendon can repair a knee; skin can help a burn victim. But by the same token, body parts can be used for cosmetic surgery.

Part 2 of the series explains that body parts are tracked with less care than a box of cereal. That matters when it turns out that the body they came from had a problem that was initially missed.

I'm looking forward to the next installment.

--Health News Florida is an independent online publication dedicated to journalism in the public interest. Editor Carol Gentry can be reached at 727-410-3266 orby e-mail.

Carol Gentry, founder and special correspondent of Health News Florida, has four decades of experience covering health finance and policy, with an emphasis on consumer education and protection.