GOP Senate Hopeful Got Rich Diverting Corpsemeat From Burn Victims To Enlarge Penises!

Submitted by SadInAmerica on Thu, 02/28/2008 - 2:41am.

Republican former South Dakota lieutenant governor and potential Senate candidate Steve Kirby made his fortune running a scandal-wracked business that harvested collagen from corpses donated for medical research and using it for cosmetic products and penis-enlargements!

Collagenesis specialized in processing donated skin off cadavers into cosmetic surgery products, and was subject to a blistering five-part investigative series by the Orange County Register beginning on April 17, 2000. "Burn victims lie waiting in hospitals as nurses scour the country for skin to cover their wounds, even though skin is in plentiful supply for plastic surgeons," read the lede of the Register report. "The skin they need to save their lives is being used instead for procedures that could wait: supporting bladders, erasing laugh lines and enlarging penises."..

Kirby's niche industry had proven financially lucrative. Collagenesis could take the skin off one cadaver and convert it into $36,000 of a gel injected to smooth wrinkles and inflate lips. Its lone competitor, a firm called LifeCell, estimated its potential revenues from such skin at $200 million a year — 10 times what it would earn if it focused on life-saving burn applications instead of cosmetic surgery.

And while Collagenesis and LifeCell claimed that they weren't taking skin away from burn units at hospitals, the Register's investigation proved otherwise. Meanwhile, cadaver donors and their families were left in the dark; Arthur Caplan, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Bioethics, explained to the Register that "people who donate have no idea tissue is being processed into products that per gram or per ounce are in the price range of diamonds."

 In a move that demonstrated a shocking lack of ethical acumen, Kirby only invested in the ghoulish Collagenesis after the Register exposé came out. And he proved his lack of business acumen by investing in a company that would soon be driven to bankruptcy by the fierce (and understandable) backlash the investigative report generated. What looked attractive in a spreadsheet generated genuine revulsion in the real world.

Cory Doctorow - February 27, 2008 - posted at

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Submitted by SadInAmerica on Thu, 02/28/2008 - 2:41am.