The body of Aura Ballesteros, 85, was accidentally donated to the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City for medical student research.
Ballesteros died in her sleep on May 16 at a nursing home after years of heart disease and dementia.
Ballesteros' son Hector, 64, claims he received permission from the city medical examiner to store his mother’s body at the Jacobi Medical Center until June 16, which would give him time to make funeral arrangements with his two sisters who live out of the country.
“I called the Bronx morgue right away and the person there confirmed they sent the body,” Hector told the New York Daily News. “I said, ‘You made a mistake,’ and he didn’t say anything, he did not apologize. I told them I wanted the body back in the same condition how it was. I am thinking she is lying in a classroom with teacher and students maybe are dissecting her."
Chief Medical Examiner's Office spokeswoman Julie Bolcer said that Ballesteros' body was not dissected, but was embalmed.
Hector saw his mother’s corpse last Saturday at a funeral home and claimed there were wounds on her body from the embalming.
“The face is changed, I know it’s my mother, but she looks different, like another person,” added Hector. “Supposedly, all the organs and the brain are inside her. I’m totally upset, sad, depressed.”
The family is now planning a lawsuit against the city.
"Obviously it was negligence... carelessness, recklessness," the Ballesteros' attorney, Sanford Rubenstein, told Reuters.