Mon, Jan 09, 2012 - Page 15 News List

Ethicist: 18th century ‘giant’ should be buried
倫理學家︰十八世紀的「巨人」應海葬

A handout picture obtained from The Hunterian Museum at The Royal College of Surgeons on Dec. 21 last year shows the skeleton of Charles Bryne on display at the museum in London.
這張由倫敦皇家外科醫師學院的杭特博物館去年十二月二十一日提供的照片,是查爾斯‧拜恩的骨骼。

Photo: AFP
照片:法新社

The skeleton of an 18th-century celebrity nicknamed the “Irish Giant” should be removed from a museum and buried at sea in keeping with his last wishes, two experts have argued.

Writing in the British Medical Journal, medical ethicist Len Doyal and legal researcher Thomas Muinzer said there is no good scientific reason to display the skeleton of Charles Byrne, who died in 1783.

“What has been done cannot be undone but it can be morally rectified,” the two men wrote. “Surely it is time to respect the memory and reputation of Byrne.”

Byrne stood about 2.3 meters tall as a result of acromegaly, or an excess of growth hormone. He became a celebrity in 18th-century London as the main attraction in a museum of curiosities, but died aged just 22.

Despite Byrne’s wish to be buried at sea, his body was purchased by pioneering surgeon and anatomist John Hunter, who often hired grave robbers to supply him with corpses. For two centuries Byrne’s skeleton has been on display at the Royal College of Surgeons’ Hunterian Museum in London.

Doyal, of London’s Queen Mary University, and Muinzer, of Queen’s University Belfast, said that while Byrne’s skeleton had been of use to medical research, that was no reason to put it on public display. “Moreover, now that Byrne’s DNA has been extracted, it can be used in further research,” they wrote.

(AP)

兩位專家建議將十八世紀一名綽號為「愛爾蘭巨人」的骨骼移出博物館,並遵照其遺願將之海葬。

在發表於《英國醫學期刊》的文章中,醫學倫理學家萊恩‧多亞爾與法學研究者湯瑪斯‧穆澤指出,沒有科學上的好理由來展示查爾斯‧拜恩的骨骼;他歿於一七八三年。

「做過的事無法抹滅,但在道德上是可以被改正的」,兩人寫道,「無疑地,是表現對拜恩的懷念與名聲尊重的時候了。」

由於罹患生長荷爾蒙分泌過多的肢端肥大症,拜恩約二點三米高。他在十八世紀的倫敦,因是珍奇博物館中最吸睛的焦點而成為名人,不過他年方二十二歲就死亡。

儘管拜恩的願望是海葬,但他的遺體卻被外科醫師先驅兼解剖學家約翰‧杭特購得,杭特常雇用盜墓者為他供應屍體。兩個世紀來,拜恩的骨骼展示在倫敦皇家外科醫師學院的杭特博物館。

TODAY’S WORDS 今日單字

1. in keeping with prep. phr.

與…一致 (yu3 … yi2 zhi4)

例: Her actions are in keeping with her promises.

(她答應的事一定做到。)

2. rectify v.

改正 (gai3 zheng4)

例: The Central Weather Bureau has rectified its latest weather forecast.

(中央氣象局更正最新氣象預測。)

3. extract v.

抽取 (chou1 qu3)

例: Sucrose is extracted from sugar cane.

(蔗糖是由甘蔗萃取而來。)


倫敦大學瑪莉皇后學院的多亞爾,與貝爾發斯特女王大學的穆澤說,儘管拜恩的骨骼被用於醫學研究,不過沒有理由公開展示它。他們寫道,「再者,現在已抽取拜恩的DNA,可用於更進一步的研究。」

(美聯社/翻譯:魏國金)

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