Last Modified: Wednesday, May 21, 2014 11:19 AM
I’d like to know what the procedure is for a person to donate their body to medical science.
To leave your body to science you must submit a donation form, available for download online, to the state’s Bureau of Anatomical Services in New Orleans.
The bureau suggests you get two family members to sign the form as witnesses and that you give a copy of the completed form to your doctor, a relative or a friend — along with instructions to notify the bureau when you die.
“Your form must be on file at least sixty (60) days before your death in order for you to be considered a registered donor,” reads the website of the LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans.
“You will receive an acceptance letter and donor cards after the 60 day waiting period has expired. If death occurs prior to the end of the 60 day waiting period, the donation still may be made if the family or estate incurs all related charges.”
The bureau will coordinate and pay for the transportation of the bodies of donors who die within 200 miles of New Orleans. The families of donors who live outside that area must pay the cost difference.
Eyes and organs may be donated to other agencies beforehand.
Bodies can’t be used if any of the following apply:
The body has been autopsied or must by law be autopsied.
The body has been embalmed.
The body harbors an infectious disease such as hepatitis or HIV.
The body is “excessively obese.”
The body is “badly deteriorated” or has suffered severe accident-related damage.
The donor died “as a result of excessive trauma to the body.”
The head of the bureau determines that the body is unusable.
The bureau sends donated bodies to Tulane University Medical Center; the LSU School of Dentistry; LSU’s medical schools, in New Orleans and Shreveport; and to a cadaver lab at LSU’s main campus in Baton Rouge.
The Daily Reveille, LSU’s student newspaper, reported in March that donations of bodies to the bureau have risen by 38 percent since 2009.
“Changing cultural attitudes toward body donation have affected this trend, and according to kinesiology professor Dennis Landin, programs like the University’s undergraduate cadaver lab have directly affected the way people view body donation. ...,” reads the story, written by student Panya Kroun.
“The lab is operated by the University’s School of Veterinary Medicine and is used in two different classes: KIN 3519, cadaver prosection, and KIN 4519, cadaver dissection.
“Landin said more and more students enroll in the classes each year, and the lab would not be possible without a steady influx of body donors.”
For more information, call the Bureau of Anatomical Services at 504-568-4012 or 504-568-2165.
Online: www.medschool.lsuhsc.edu/cell_biology/anatomical_services.aspx; www.lsureveille.com.
The Informer answers questions from readers each Sunday, Monday and Wednesday. It is researched and written by Andrew Perzo, an American Press staff writer. To ask a question, call 494-4098 and leave voice mail, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.