Illustration for article titled Man Turned His Amputated Leg Into A Real-Life Leg Lamp

It didn't end up looking like the "major award" from A Christmas Story, but a Dutch man succeeded in turning his amputated leg into a floor lamp. But not before engaging in a battle with the hospital over what he could and couldn't do with his own disembodied body part.


After Leo Bonten broke his right leg in an accident, a bacterial infection set in and his doctors recommended removing the lower portion of his leg. When Bonten said that he wanted to keep the leg in the form of a lamp, the hospital balked, citing health and safety concerns. "But they have no leg to stand on," Bonten told the NRC Reader. Eventually, the hospital said that Bonten could have the leg, but in order to follow the law, the leg would have to first be buried and then exhumed, a costly process. In the end, the hospital and Bonten worked out a deal that would allow Bonten his leg lamp.

You can see a photo of the lamp, designed by William Schaper Kotter, at NRC Reader (although it might be easier to see at Improbable Research), though fans of A Christmas Story (whose leg lamp is pictured above) might be a tad disappointed. The leg is suspended in a cylinder of fluid, with the lamp part above.


That's not where the leg's story ends, however. Bonten says he has suffered from some financial hardships and he decided to put his leg lamp up for sale on eBay. However, since eBay's terms of service forbid the say of human remains, the listing was pulled.

What's interesting about this story isn't just the slightly morbid object that is the leg lamp, but also the ethical discussion this has sparked in the Netherlands. Who owns a human body part after it has been removed? What concerns should be taken into account? And do we somehow violate human dignity when we turn something like a human leg into an object that can be bought and sold?

I Wanted a Floor Lamp [NCR Reader via Improbable Research via Neatorama]

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