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Body Worlds 2, German scientist Dr. Gunther von Hagens's controversial exhibition of human cadavers and body parts preserved by a process called plastination, opened in Montreal May 10 to a flurry of media interest. While the 200 specimens, skinned and posed in a variety of athletic postures, has attracted more than 20 million visitors in 10 countries since opening in 1995, not everyone is a fan. Margaret Somerville, founding director of the Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law at McGill, told the Globe and Mail that the "concern is that if people start disrespecting the dead, it will become easier to disrespect live humans." Dr. Carolyn Ells of McGill's Biomedical Ethics Unit concurred with her colleague, adding that, despite von Hagens's stated mission to educate the public about the human body and its functions, some of the displays don't treat the bodies with the dignity they deserve. Interviewed on 940 News, Ells said "Even if someone has consented to do that, it seems disrespectful to me because it is quite a harm done to the human body, and then portraying it as an object of art is a little bit offensive."
Dr. Jacques Chaoulli's launch of a medical brokerage firm has raised everything from hope to ire and plenty of eyebrows in between. For a fee of $40, not covered by Medicare, the Chaoulli Group plans to eliminate the infamous waiting lists on which many Quebecers languish, while awaiting treatment, by quickly matching patients with specialists. In an article in the Montreal Gazette, Christopher Manfredi, McGill Dean of Arts, said that the centre is really just a game of legal chicken being played by the good doctor, who has already taken the provincial government to the Supreme Court of Canada to force it to change its policy on private health insurance. "Chaoulli is now trying to get the province to stop him so he can get another legal case." For her part, Antonia Maioni, Director of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada, says that, legal issues aside, the centre, which calls for doctors to participate only once they have fulfilled their quota of public sector work, is unfeasible. "Doctors complain they don't have enough time to fulfill their obligations in the public system," she said. "I don't understand how they are going to moonlight on the side."
With only four NHL teams left in the hunt for Lord Stanley's coveted Cup, coaches are pulling out all stops in their effort to give their squad an edge. As reported in the May 3 issue of the McGill Reporter, Mike Babcock, head coach of the Detroit Red Wings and a former All-Star defenseman for the McGill Redmen, sported a red silk tie behind the bench for a pivotal win in the Western Conference semifinals. Although he usually dons a different tie for each game, the superstitious Babcock broke tradition and slipped on his lucky McGill finery for Game 1 of the Western Conference final. Babcock's old school magic was working again as Detroit edged Anaheim 2-1 in the opener, giving the tie a perfect 2-0 record in the playoffs. When a reporter from Canadian Press asked if Babcock would go to the well one more time, the coach said he didn't want to press his luck. The tie was officially put in mothballs until the Stanley Cup finals—should the Red Wings make it that far.