Tag Archives: whole body donation

Whole Body Donation – Another Option


The other night, I was at the emergency room of our local hospital and overheard half of a phone conversation.  Evidently, a relative had died of cancer within the last hour and there was no money available for a funeral.  The person I could hear was lamenting that she had no idea what to do.  She wanted to do the “right” thing for the deceased but didn’t know what that was.

Respecting her privacy (even though she was talking on a cell in the middle of the lobby), I said nothing….but I began to think about options she might have.

One that is not talked about much but could have been the solution to her quandary is whole body donation. Study of human bodies can help in the discovery of cures for many diseases and medical conditions and can aid in the development of new medical and surgical procedures as well as new, potentially life-saving, medicines.

If you think this is something you’d like to do, you should make the arrangements prior to your death.  You can preregister with a medical school or research organization by signing a consent form stating your wish to donate your body.  A copy of the consent form should be put with your will and other valuable papers so it can easily be found.

When you die, your family should notify the facility.  They will transport your body transported to the research facility or medical school with which you signed the consent form.

If you did not sign a consent form agreeing to whole body donation, your family can still decide this is what they wish to do after your death.  They will need to contact the medical facility or research center of choice and sign an after death donor form.  Then the process is the same as if you had made arrangements pre death.

When the group to whom the body has been donated is finished with it, they will cremate it and return the ashes to the next of kin or dispose of them in the way you have designated.

Cost to the family – usually zero.

For a list of medical schools which accept whole body donations, check out the list published by the University of Florida State Anatomical Board.

A national organization we found which provides a lot of information about this subject is MedCure.

Finally, for further information about funeral options and body and organ donation, go to www.diesmart.com.













Donate your body to science and someone may profit from your death!

Many people leave directions on how they would like their body to be disposed of.  Before making a final decision, they may consider burial or cremation.  Another option they may think about is the possibility of donating their body to medical science.

There are many medical schools that would love the gift of a body that can be used to help students study human anatomy. And there are non-profit organizations that act as clearing houses for groups of those schools.  For example, in Florida, the Anatomical Board of the State of Florida office in Gainesville, Florida (800-628-2594) handles all of the “donations” of bodies to all the medical schools in that state.  And there is a web site, maintained by  the State of Florida Anatomical Board  http://www.med.ufl.edu/anatbd/usprograms.html,  which has a comprehensive list of medical schools across the country that are interested in receiving cadaevars. 

But beware.  Over the last several years, several for-profit companies have been formed that take a body and sell it, or parts of it, for a large profit….often more than $100,000 – $150,000! 

If you are considering donating your body, think about this.  Do you want someone to make money off of your death – money that will not go to your family but to a faceless corporation.  If the answer is no, check out the organization carefully before you sign any paperwork.

Cadavers: Where do they come from?

Anyone watching Brothers and Sisters last Sunday saw Justin Walker getting ready to cut open a cadaver as part of his medical school training. Where did that cadaver come from? How did it get to a medical school?

A brief history of cadavers

Medical schools have used cadavers for training for more than 200 years. Over this period of time, the methods of acquiring and preserving them have changed. Criminals who were executed for their crimes were used as the first cadavers since Christians believed that the souls of dissected bodies could not go to heaven and few offered their bodies to science. As the number of criminals being executed decreased, it became commonplace to steal bodies from graves in order to keep the market supplied.

The tradition of dissecting criminals continued into the eighteenth and nineteenth century when anatomy schools became popular in England and Scotland. The only cadavers available were criminals’, and anatomists were portrayed as no better than an executioner.
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