- Is it necessary to include a body donation in the donor's will?
No. The intent to donate may be included in a will, but because a will may not be found in time for delivery of the body to WMed, it is more effective to have these instructions readily available on a wallet donation card or donation form. The donor should also advise his or her family and legal representative of the intent to make a donation.
- Are there age restrictions on whole body donation?
No. The body of any person may be donated with appropriate consent by the donor or the donor's legal representative.
- Will the donor or donor's family be paid a fee for a body donation?
No. The state anatomical law (RUAGL) requires that the donation be a gift without compensation.
- Are there costs associated with body donation?
If the decedent is within 50 miles of WMed’s campus there is no cost to the next-of-kin or estate for transport of the body to WMed. If the decedent is beyond 50 miles, we ask that the family works with a funeral home to arrange transport. The donor's family or legal representative is responsible for any charges associated with the funeral home and other entities outside of WMed.
- Can an anatomical gift be revoked?
Yes. An anatomical gift is revocable until death, and then becomes irrevocable. A gift may be revoked by contacting the WMed Donated Body Program in writing. A revocation meeting all legal requirements is effective upon receipt, but will not apply to actions taken before noticed is received. After death, the family or legal representatives of a donor may not revoke an authorization without a court order.
- Are there circumstances when a donation could not be used?
Yes. Occasionally, a donor's illness or other considerations prevents us from being able to accept a donation. The representative of WMed makes this determination during early conversations following death.
- What is the procedure at the time of death?
The family or the funeral director should call the 24-hour donation line at 1.844.366.9633 promptly for instructions. In most cases we must receive the body within 24 hours of death.
- What is the procedure if a donation cannot be used?
If an anatomical donation is not accepted for any reason, the donor's legal representative is responsible for making alternate arrangements at the expense of the donor's estate.
- What are examples of uses for education or research?
Most donations are used to teach medical students, and in continuing education programs. A small number are used to teach students in allied health fields such as physical therapy. Some donations are used for research, such as by surgeons to study new operative techniques.
- Is it likely that the donor's body will be used in research studying a disease the donor had?
Generally no. Any use for research would be determined by specific researcher requests pending at the time of the donor's death.
- Will WMed accept a body if the donor dies out-of-state?
Because of transportation costs, legal issues, and potential deterioration of the donor's body, we recommend that donor's body be donated to a recipient in the area where death occurs. If, however, the family wishes to make arrangements, bear the cost, and ensure a prompt delivery, we can accept the donation, if it otherwise meets the requirements for donation.
- May the donor's family have a funeral service before the donor's body is delivered to the medical school?
Typically yes. However, the funeral director must first contact our office, since failure to follow allowable procedures could prevent the intended donation.
- When will work with the donation be completed and the ashes returned?
The family is offered the options of four years, six years, or forever.
- Is there a memorial service for donors?
Yes. A memorial service occurs annually in the fall. All donor families are encouraged to attend.
- Can ashes be exhumed after being buried in the medical school plot?
No. Under no circumstances will ashes be exhumed.
- Will my family receive a report of your findings?
No. An autopsy will not be performed.
- May an institution other than WMed used a donor's body?
Although unlikely, it is possible another institution may use the donated body. At the request of the donor or family, use by other schools can be prohibited.