Donating Body to Science

wodkaAugust 7, 2008

With my father dying almost two years ago and now my sister diagnosed with cancer, I have been contemplating on what would be the easiest on family as far as burials/cremation go, when I pass away. I have always marked my driver's license as an organ donor, but today when I called to inquire about getting more information regarding donating my body to science (or if my sister was interested in talking about it when she starts getting her affairs in order) I found out that neither one of us are eligible.

I was so disappointed. The reason is that when we were children, my brother contracted hepatitis from swimming in contaminated water and spread it to my sister, my father and me. In fact, we were quarantined for several weeks.

I still plan to be cremated when I die, but was hoping my body/organs would be able to help others. I've always known that we couldn't give blood, but this just blew me away. Is there anyway this could be wrong information? Does this mean I can't donate anything, such as eyes?

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It is my understanding the whole body and organ/tissue donations are two seperate things. I think I would research organ donation more, lots of useful info on the web.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 8:35PM
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It's possible that you could donate bone.

I had to have cadaver bone grafts and the doctor told me that I didn't have any worry because it was not only sterilized, but it was kept for six months before use in order to check out the condition of the other people that received organs from the same donor. They can't very well sterilize the other organs.

Just for general information.....should anyone want to donate their entire body to a medical school for research or teaching, they should contact the school for forms, etc. This allows for proper processing at the time of death.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 10:33PM
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Little-known thing about organ donation....

If you happen to be one of those that lingers in a coma or "persistent vegetative state" and are an organ donor, your decision-makers may encounter a surprise at the time they decide it's time to disconnect you from life-support. Harvesting living organs often entails intense coordination among waiting recipients for the organs to be donated. Everything must be in readiness before they are harvested. The instruction to disconnect you may not be carried out for several days until these arrangements are made and all is in readiness.

IMHO, it shouldn't matter. But it may for some (many?) people. They don't tell you this when you sign the card.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 11:50PM
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what a nice person you are!
interesting point that i read in the newspaper here about 6 months ago, that if you were interested in donating your organs/body your family must pay for this out of their own pockets and hope that the Ontario (i live in canada) health system pays you back some or all of the money, so much for trying to help out another human being.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2008 at 1:34AM
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heydeborah, thank you.

That's interesting about your health system. They might be charging because more and more people these days are opting toward donation of organs/bodies and cremation because the funeral industry is so expensive.

How one leaves this earth is a very personal, private matter, but this is my wish. I do not want my loved ones to spend thousands of dollars on embalming, casket, marker, etc., especially if I die of an illness that has ravaged me. Rather than viewing my tired, old, body, I want my friends and loved ones to view photographs of my life when I was happy and healthy and share special stories about me, so that people leave with a smile on their face and warmth in their hearts.

Faith has a lot to do with it. After watching my father take his last breath, I believe his soul went straight to heaven. The body laying in that expensive casket, with the bruise on his face where he had fallen still very apparent, was not him and it did not give me any comfort to view it. But that's just me.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2008 at 10:10AM
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I could not agree more wodka! All four of us have opted for direct cremation, not even going to have visitation at the funeral home, just a graveside service. I always said I did not want people coming to see me when I was dead, becaused most would not visit when alive!
I believe our soul goes straight to heaven and all that is left is the vessel that carried the soul.

I was at my Aunt's funeral, my favorite Aunt, and this woman came up when I was at the casket. She started going on and on about "how good she looked". I asked her when she had seen my Aunt last........she told me years and years ago. Then she started again about "how good she looked" and said to me "don't you think she looks good"
I could not take it anymore and responded "no,I don't think she looks good, I think she looks dead"
At that moment I knew for sure I did not want anyone standing over my dead body saying I looked good!

    Bookmark   August 9, 2008 at 10:18AM
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"I could not take it anymore and responded 'no,I don't think she looks good, I think she looks dead.'"

Linda, your quote made me laugh out loud! Thanks!

I have read where one can opt for direct cremation, totally bypassing the funeral home and their cash registers! It sure makes sense, especially in today's world.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2008 at 10:48AM
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Yes, you want direct cremation. Otherwise, the embalming process will be started as soon as possible after the body pick-up.

I agree. Why the display? I think all this stuff about "closure" for the family is just a lot of hype put out for a very few by the funeral industry.

I would much prefer that my family think about times featured in photos, etc. rather than Me At My Funeral. Besides, I know they would use the wrong shade of lipstick. I have told my husband that I would find a way to come back and haunt him if he dared put my dead body on display. He knows I alway mean what I say! LOL

    Bookmark   August 9, 2008 at 1:02PM
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I hadn't even considered the lipstick issue. No one would ever recognize me with makeup on!! ;)

    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 10:58PM
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I don't really know what I want to do, but I have told my husband if he spends a whole lot of money on a casket and stuff, I will come back and haunt him. Paying thousands of dollars to put something in the ground just doesn't hit me right.

I'm not there so it really doesn't matter.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2008 at 10:54AM
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nannyp, that reminds me of what my mom always says, "Open caskets are barbaric. If you do that to me, I swear I'll come back and haunt you!"

    Bookmark   August 12, 2008 at 10:38PM
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There is no way I would donate my body or let someone I love donate theirs if I could talk them out of it. I don't mind being an organ donor, but not the entire body. I have read to much about it and I think the loss is to fast. The minute the person dies, the body is removed in a refrigerated van. They are gone even before the family gets done with their final goodbyes. My husband was cremated, I kept the ashes for a couple of months and they comforted me, which really shocked me. I didn't know how I would feel having him in the house. My sister didn't get her husband's ashes back for almost 2 years after he was donated. He was just hauled away, gone.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2008 at 8:44PM
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I have said for years and my family has been told: I do NOT want buried in the ground. I want to be standing upright with a window so I can wave when people come to see me."
Of course it isn't going to happen but it was a thought. I'm not one tthat likes to think of death. I don't want to die. That's just the truth of it but of course can't stop that either.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2008 at 11:53PM
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Lynn, my husband had Alzheimer's for 4 years, I watched him live with it and decided there are worse things than death, Alzheimer's and Lou Gehrig's disease for instance. How I die is something that scares me. My Mom is 96 and can no longer live alone, she is ready to die and I would be if I were in her shoes. I don't know how I would have gotten through my husband's death and making the final arrangements if I had not "thought about death" and made those arrangements before they were needed.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2008 at 2:38PM
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I've told my husband, if I die before him, I want a closed casket. I don't want people staring at me after I'm dead, saying things like "She looks so natural, like she's asleep". I have been to so many wakes, and I hate looking at dead bodies." My children know my wishes also.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2008 at 11:57AM
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I think one of the nicest gifts anj elderly parent can give a child is to have the funeral arrangements taken care of, if not paid for ('cause I know some can't afford) but to at least make their exact wishes known. I will never forget the day my grandmother showed up at our door and told my mom she wanted to talk. she then told mom she had been to the funeral home, made for and paid for all the arrangements. When grandmother went home to heaven it was so much easier on grandmother even told her what dress to put her in! LOL!

As I said earlier, we are all going for direct creamation, no funeral home visitation, just graveside when ashes are ready. I think the visistaion is a waste of time, why wait till the person is gone, why not visit them while they are living?

    Bookmark   August 17, 2008 at 12:33PM
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linda, again I agree with you. My father, as an anniversary gift (how weird, huh) suggested that he and our mom go ahead and arrange and prepay for their funeral arrangements. He took a lot of ribbing for it from his friends, but what a blessing it was for Mama and the rest of us when he died. Basically, one call to the funeral home and one meeting and it was done.

That being said, my husband and I are also still opting for cremation and memorial service....haven't yet decided on where our ashes will go, since we have moved several times. I used to think scattered in the Gulf, until Katrina took everything from us. I'll be darned if she's getting our ashes, too. (ha.)

    Bookmark   August 17, 2008 at 1:31PM
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Well another thing my grandmother did was to buy four plots at the cemetary. So, grandpap in one, grandmom in the other and since we are all being creamated then mom and dad will go in one of the remaining and my brother and I will go in the other...........may as well use them.
However my wish was always to have my ashes scattered in a garden somewhere.........but I am not going to stress over it, I just hope my soul goes to heaven and not the other way!!!

    Bookmark   August 17, 2008 at 2:29PM
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I don't even want a funeral and have made that clear with the funeral home. If people can't visit me when I am alive and well, I don't want them at my funeral.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2008 at 7:25PM
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