Navy Dr. Mark E. Shelly awaits a final determination about his career after being placed on administrative duty and fined $2,500 by the Virginia Board of Medicine following revelations that he took the brain of a deceased U.S. Marine to his home and allowed his children to handle it while his wife took photographs.
Stars and Stripes reports that the doctor was transporting the Marine’s brain in a specimen jar from a Naval hospital at Camp Lejeune to the Portsmouth Naval Medical Center when he stopped at his home on December 20, 2011. After allowing his minor children to handle the brain, he took it to Portsmouth on December 21 to complete the autopsy.
A neuropathologist later confirmed that Shelly’s conduct had not impacted the autopsy and it was not apparent upon examination that the brain had been handled by lay persons.
The Portsmouth police received an anonymous tip in the case on January 17, 2012, but referred it to the state medical examiner’s office as Shelly’s behavior was deemed non-criminal. USA Today reports that the Marine’s family was notified and standards for the transport of medical specimens have since been modified.
[“A Bloody Brain” on Shutterstock]