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   The act of donating your remains for the benefit of others is a very noble cause. Whether it is your eyes, liver, kidney, heart, etc. for someone else to use to sustain life, or whether it is the donation of your entire body to a medical institution so future doctors can learn from it requires thought and commitment. It is something that has to be decided prior to death. It must be made known to others as well!.

   At one time donations were sometimes rejected by medical schools because the bodies were not ideal for study. This resulted in some very hurt feelings. In 1974 Congress passed the Anatomical Gift Act preventing rejection. However, if the body is in poor shape it will not be used for study but will be treated with dignity. Medical schools do not want embalmed bodies, nor do they want bodies that have been autopsied.

   Check with the particular medical school that you are planning of making a donation to. They have certain rules that must be followed. Some do not accept bodies on weekends. The final disposition of your remains must be considered.

   The funeral director must be alerted to the procedure. They are responsible for the remains until delivery. Since there is no embalming allowed consideration for the prevention of decomposition is necessary. Transportation must be arranged as well.

   When the body is finally delivered to the medical school they will super-embalm it so body parts will last for several years if necessary. There might be a large vat of embalming fluid that the body is suspended in hanging by hooks in the ears for a long period of time. When the body is needed in the classroom it will be removed from the vat. 

   After the students are finished with the body the remains are going to enter the disposal phase. Some medical schools have a common burial ground for remains. Some have common cremation and then a common burial. Some will cremate the identified remains and then return the cremains to the family for their disposition. So there will be no surprises, be sure to check this out ahead of time!

   Medical schools have forms to fill out prior to disposition. They are readily available by phone.

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