McMaster University

McMaster University

Bequeathal Program

Service of Gratitude

1. Body Donation to the Education Program in Anatomy

2. How to become a donor

3. Who can be a donor?

4. Can the next-of-kin or executor make the decision for someone?

5. Can the next-of-kin or executor prevent someone from being a donor even if that person has signed a donation form?

6. Can someone donate their body to a School of Anatomy and their organs for transplant?

7. What happens to a body after donation?

8. What happens at the time of death?

9. Who is acceptable?

10. We can accept:

11. We must decline:

 

1. Body Donation to the Education Program in Anatomy

Many people wish to bequeath their bodies for medical education and research thereby making a unique contribution to the advancement of medicine. In recognition of this wish, the Trillium Gift of Life Act and the Anatomy Act allow for such bequeathals, provided that there is no objection by the next-of-kin. Donation is supervised through the Chief Coroner of Ontario.

Those who donate their bodies to a School of Anatomy and the families of these individuals are assured dignity and respect that society customarily grants to the deceased. Students preparing themselves for medical and allied health professions are fully aware of the special privilege granted to them. By both law and obligation, they have to conduct themselves in a professional manner during their study of the human body.

2. How to become a donor

Contact 905-525-9140 ext 22273 or write McMaster University, Education Program in Anatomy, 1280 Main St. West, HSC 1R1, Hamilton, Ontario L8S 4K1 to obtain a "Donation of Body to School of Anatomy" form. Part 1 of the form is to be completed and returned to the Education Program in Anatomy. A duplicate is sent to be retained and should be readily available to the next-of-kin or executor, with whom it is strongly advised the potential donor discuss their wishes. Following the death of a donor, the next-of-kin or executor must be in a position to act immediately on their behalf. Timing is crucial.

3. Who can be a donor?

Anyone may donate their body. There is no age restriction for body donation to the Education Program in Anatomy. However, illnesses and cause of death, BMI (Body mass index) largely determine who may actually be accepted. The suitability for acceptance will be determined as soon as possible at the time of death.

4. Can the estate executor make the decision for someone?

If, at the time of death, Part I of the Donation of Body form has not been signed, the wishes of the deceased can still be honoured. The estate executor can complete the form on behalf of the donor.

5. Can the estate executor prevent someone from being a donor even if that person has signed a donation form?

Yes. A signed donation form is only an indication of a potential donor's wishes. It is the responsibility of the donor to ensure that he/she discuss his/her wishes with the estate executor.

6. Can someone donate their body to a School of Anatomy and their organs for transplant?

If a person wishes his/her body to be bequeathed to a School of Anatomy, only the eyes can be donated as a tissue gift for transplant. Further information regarding organ donation can be obtained from Trillium Gift of LIfe Network (not affiliated with McMaster University) :

Trillium Gift of Life Network

984 Bay Street, Suite 503, Toronto, ON M5S 2A5

Phone: 416-921-1130 Toll-free: 1-800-263-2833 Website: www.giftoflife.on.ca

7. What happens to a body after donation?

Anatomical study and/or research in the Education Program in Anatomy can range from months to up to eight years after receiving a body. In certain cases, entire bodies or portions of a body may be kept indefinitely. The cremated remains can then be picked up by the next-of-kin or the option to be interred in the McMaster University crypt located at Bayview Cemetery & Crematory in Burlington, Ontario. The remains of each donor are kept separate and identifiable. All expenses for cremation and interment in the McMaster University crypt are paid for by the Education Program in Anatomy. Within a year of the donation, the donor will be recognized at a Service of Gratitude.

8. What happens at the time of death?

Upon a potential donor's death, a physician or coroner must issue a Medical Proof of Death Certificate. The estate executor must notify the Education Program in Anatomy at McMaster University immediately. If the body of the donor is acceptable and required, the Education Program in Anatomy will make the necessary arrangements to transport the body from the place of death. Transportation costs will be billed to the estate of the donor. The estate executor must provide the donor's SIN, proof of birth (or passport or baptismal certificate), and the full names and birth places for both of the donor's parents. The Education Program in Anatomy will issue twelve Proof of Death certificates.

9. Who is acceptable?

The Education Program in Anatomy cannot accept the body of a donor until it has been deemed suitable for anatomical studies and is required by the program. All efforts to determine suitability will take place as quickly as possible prior to the transfer of the body to the university.

10. We can accept:

  • Arthritis
  • Cardiovascular disease:
    • Angina
    • Atherosclerotic heart disease (ASHD)
    • Heart failure
    • Hypertension
    • Myocardial infarction (MI) "Heart Attack"
    • Cerebral vascular accident (CVA) "Stroke"
    • Unruptured aneurysm
    • Pacemakers
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Ischemic bowel diseases
  • Kidney: Renal failure
  • Liver: Alcoholic hepatitis
    • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Lung: Chronic Obstructive Lung Disorder (COPD)
    • Emphysema
    • Pneumonia
    • Pulmonary Embolism
    • Pulmonary Fibrosis
  • Most cancers or lymphomas
  • Multiple sclerosis

11. We must decline:

  • Autopsy or Trauma
  • Degenerative neurological diseases:
    • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
    • Rapid onset dementia
  • Infections diseases:
    • Hepatitis
    • Septicemia ("blood poisoning")
    • Meningitis
    • HIV positive
    • Gangrene
    • Tuberculosis
    • C. difficile
    • Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
  • Ruptured aneurysm
  • Recent major surgery (within six months prior to death)
  • Extreme emaciation:
    • BMI screening in effect (we require accurate height and weight at time of death)
  • Height/weight restriction: no taller than 5'11"" (180cm) and/or over 185 lbs (84 kg) and/or under 95 lbs (43 kg)
  • Operational Restrictions

 

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