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Leaving body to medical science

(33 Posts)
Stoker48 Tue 15-May-18 10:18:10

I wonder if anyone has experience of being involved with the procedure of leaving their body to medical science? I’m considering this for myself.
From what I understand there would, obviously, be no
funeral in the accepted way but nothing to stop loved ones having a life celebration.
I’m sure there is lots to consider, I’m just at the beginning of this thought process.
I’d be truly grateful if anyone could share their experiences with me. Either they have arranged this or has experience of a loved one who has and, when the time came, was it relatively straight forward?
I dint want to leave my next of kin with a headache!
Thank you

sparkly1000 Thu 17-May-18 18:55:51

Alexa, sorry that you've taken offence over the term "cadaver" however, as SueDomin rightly points out, that is the legally correct term.
What term would would you prefer?
I don't know how long you have been retired from nursing but " Last Offices" are in place and still practised now.
To explain what "Last Offices" is, is the last thing that nurses can do for their patient to care after their death.
Patients are sponged down in warm water, all IV lines, catheters and any other medical parafanalia removed. I'm not even going to go into the legal side of but needless to say always two nurses to sign independently for sometimes just half a bar of soap.

Marelli Thu 17-May-18 19:57:38

DH’s and my bodies are also to be used in this way. My neighbour in his capacity of Chaplain, conducted a service each year in the University near here where thanks was given for the donations of bodies for research and the medical students attended the service.
If it so happens that our bodies are not required, for whatever reason, then ‘direct cremation’ will take place.

Alexa Fri 18-May-18 15:13:28

Sparkly100o wrote:

^term "cadaver" however, as SueDomin rightly points out, that is the legally correct term.
What term would would you prefer?^

When the professionals communicate with lay people the professionals should use an appropriate lexicon. I said that I accept that 'cadaver' is the legal term but that it is not sympathetic . Planning for one's demise is much to do with one's feelings . 'Alexa' or 'you' is preferable to 'the cadaver'.

When I give to any charity I like to feel that my gift is appreciated, and most charities well know that donors like to be appreciated. I require that if I were kindly to donate my dead body I'd receive a thank you which is not expressed in officialese. I'd also require reassurance that my body would be treated with respect including when I am skinned and eviscerated.

After what remains is cremated I am willing that Alexa's ashes are referred to as 'the ashes'.

Alexa Fri 18-May-18 15:18:02

SueDonim wrote:

I've checked with my Dd, and she confirms that all bodies are treated with respect at all times inc some words about each individual person at the start of the year. Anatomy is safeguarded by many laws to ensure that bodies are treated with respect. Students must be appropriately dressed in dark clothing, as for a religious service, so no bare shoulders/midriffs/legs. Hair must be tidy and tied back if long. No sunglasses can be worn, nor anything frivolous. A below-knee length white coat must be worn. No mobile phones are permitted.

These are legal requirements and breaking them can result in severe penalties including dismissal from med school. Students begin their course by learning some of the general background of the body they will be dealing with, although it is anonymised for privacy reasons. Attendance at the end of year memorial service is compulsory.

My own Dd had been to her beloved 93yo grandmother's funeral just before she began at med school so she was fully aware of what is involved. She has never seen anything disrespectful towards the generous people who made the decision to help the doctors of tomorrow.

I know you've made your decision, Alexa, but this is just to inform others of how the process goes.

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Alexa Fri 18-May-18 15:25:18

SueDonim and others ,sorry about all the excess copy! My fingers slipped and no edit function.

SueDonim thank you for your reassuring information . I will reconsider. Unfortunately the communications that I
got from the anatomy people in my area were not as good as your communication and as I said were in officialese. Maybe they have more than enough dead bodies for their purpose and so lack incentive to write nicely.

SueDonim Thu 07-Jun-18 21:31:50

I'm just reviving this thread to post a link to a BBC article about body donation.

LynneB59 Thu 07-Jun-18 21:56:49

My dad did that. He died in hospital, so the details of him wanting to go to medical science were on his records.
The relevant department sent someone to collect his body and take it.

There was no funeral, car, flowers, coffin, nothing. We were asked if we'd like a little service to be conducted by the hospital chaplain a couple of weeks later. We had that so that my dad's friends and siblings could also attend. There was no charge, just a donation if we wanted to.

After almost 2 years, the hospital department wrote to us, asking if we'd like our dad's remains so that we could have a burial or cremation. We declined.

My husband and me decided that we'd like to donate our bodies to medical science, so we contacted the hospital and completed the paperwork they sent us. We have got a copy at home, and our dGP surgery has the other copy.