Thursday, March 20, 2008

Anatomical Gift--Donating a Body to Science

I can just hear the majority of y'all out there going EWWWW!!!!

If you feel that way based on your particular spiritual beliefs, then don't bother reading further. I respect your beliefs. Just wish more respected mine. That's another post for another day.

I am an Anatomical Donor.

I'm sure many of you out there are organ donors. Here again you may not be, based on your spiritual beliefs. Yet I'm sure that still leaves plenty who are organ donors. I whole hearted believe in being an organ donor. You "Give the Gift of Life" to someone else on your demise. I simply chose to donate my whole body for research purposes instead of the individual organs.

What led me to this decision??

Way back when I was in nursing school. We did several lab classes working with cadavers. There's just so much you can get from book learning. To really grasp the makeup of a human body, it is crucial you see the real thing.

We had a fairly decent sized class but there was a grand total of 3 cadavers to be shared by the entire class. It was very difficult to get all the work done by such a large class with only 3 cadavers at our disposal. After listening to many of us bitch and moan about it, the instructor finally shared with us why.

It seems the general public react the way many of you did when you read the title of this post. Very few people donate their whole body anymore. So many research facilities end up sharing cadavers.

Alabama has one of the nations top rated research universities right in Birmingham , University of Alabama, Birmingham (UAB) and it's medical center. I contacted them and they put me in touch with the proper department. After filling out the required paperwork, presto, I was an Anatomical Donor. After UAB is through with the body it will be passed along to other smaller hospitals. Once they have garnered as much use out of it as possible, the body will be cremated and the ashes given to my son. I carry a donor card in my purse right along with all my IDs. Just had to make sure all my family members were aware of my decision.

There are a number of online anatomical donation sites. There are 2 I would recommend from checking out their websites.

LifeLegacy Foundation


I feel like with my medical history of WLS and Bipolar Disorder, my body would be a fantastic research resource. Check out the sites and hopefully you will want to help by being an Anatomical Donor too.


OhYeahBabe said...

My uncle's eyes went to someone who can now see, as a result of his gift. He was a really honorable guy who died too young, but that blow was softened by the loving gift he gave to another when he died.
My blog: Kimorexia

Vlad said...

I was so glad to see someone had taken the initiative to write about a topic that unfortunately is misunderstood and scarcely recognized in the US today. Anatomical donation is vital to not only first year medical students to study Anatomy but also for the ongoing training surgeons need to maintain their medical license and advance their skill set. Imagine a surgeon training on today's advanced medical equipment and learning advanced surgical technique while training on a simulator or a latex model. While this is the way it is commonly done, from my years of experience in the medical field it is not the optimum way to learn or hone your skills. Medical students having to share a cadaver or attending a medical school where there is a shortage of cadavers are being deprived not just a learning opportunity but first hand knowledge of the importance a cadaver plays in their initial training and in their future. In attending surgical labs where cadavers are used the common thread between all attendees is that they are prepared to serve their community and that cadavers are a part of the foundation of their ongoing education. Time and time again we hear how much was gained by the use of cadavers in research and educational functions we support. I appreciate your having posted your blog and wish there were more of us doing so. I have lost family and friends to disease both known and unknown. I hope I will see the day or certainly that my children will see a day when the answer for why a loved one is no longer in their lives is not disease or inexplicable. Natural causes maybe? One can only hope. If you would like more information on body donation please visit us at The future can be brighter for many if people learn more and become proactive today.