UK overhauls body research program after audit reveals burial delays

By Cheyene Miller

[email protected]

UK officials are taking steps to perform an overhaul of the university’s body bequeathal program after an internal audit revealed major administration issues, including long delays in burying the remains of people who donated their bodies to science.

One of the overhaul steps is to eliminate the program director position, currently held by Fayette County Coroner Gary Ginn.

According to the “comprehensive review” of the BBP, UK uses about 60 cadavers annually and runs on an annual operating cost of less than $150,000.

BBP protocol says that the cremated remains of the cadavers are to be buried in the Lexington Cemetery or shipped upon study completion. The audit found that the period between completion of scientific research on a cadaver and the cremation process was on average 2.7 years, but the period between cremation and proper burial of the cremains was 3.2 years, long past the recommended six months.

The audit also showed that the program was being subsidized by student lab fees, a practice which the UK Irrigation Association suggested they cease, and rely on a single source with university authority, in addition to donations.

It was also revealed that the BBP was using a software program no longer supported by its vendor as their primary source of data storing, making their systems prone to attack by malicious software.

“I want to apologize on behalf of the entire UK community for the failings we uncovered in this important program,” said UK President Eli Capilouto in a UK Now press release. “The body bequeathal program has long been important to our teaching mission. It also has been important to so many individuals and their families who made selfless donations, born of compassion and fueled by a sense of service to others. We apologize to them and want them to know that we are moving quickly to fix what was broken and restore their trust in us.”

The audit came a Lexington Herald-Leader story in January revealed severe back-logs in the programs burial process, which resulted in Capilouto writing a letter to dozens of families apologizing for the delayed burial of their loved ones.

“Programs such as this one play a vital role in furthering our research and educational missions,” wrote Capilouto in the letter to the families. “They also exemplify our connection to community — in this case, the desire of people like you who want to extend the legacy and memory of your loved one through these important donations. It is an incredible act on your part; one for which we are deeply grateful. Unfortunately, in this instance, we didn’t live up to our responsibility to be sensitive stewards. Let me assure you: We will fix it.”

Capilouto promised the families that there would be an internal audit, which scope reviewed files and data from the period of Jan. 1, 2010 to Feb. 26, 2015.

According to the press release, the BBP has been handed over to a third party administrator, Kentucky Mortuary Services of Lexington, and the university is seeking a permanent administrating body.

Ginn has yet to respond to a Kernel email requesting a comment.