Saturday, June 12, 2010

Science Care

I'm back on the blogging wagon, ready to start writing all the posts I meant to write this past year.  First up is Science Care, a whole body donation program.  Science Care facilitates both whole body and organ donation.  Science Care is accredited by the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB) and accredited as a provider by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME); learn more here. If you don't care to learn more about body donation, I suggest you stop reading now. Body donation is used for medical research and training for physicians and surgeons, thus improving quality of life for future generations.  If you sign up with Science Care, you can be both an organ donor for transplant and a whole body donor.  Acceptance of the organ or body donation is contingent on medical and suitability criteria at the time of death.  A donated gift could be used in several settings, such as medical school, a laboratory, or for medical research.  To be blunt, your body may be embalmed and then dissected; if so, your body would not be publicly displayed.  Obviously, you'll have no control over how your body is used if you choose to donate, although they will try to meet your wish to donate to specific research.  Donating your body is not for everyone but it is an incredible gift.  Once donation is complete, the cremated remains are returned to the next of kin, usually in 3-5 weeks.

Almost everyone can donate regardless of age, location or health. Most illnesses are accepted, including cancer, heart disease, lupus, ALS, arthritis, stroke, H1N1 and diabetes. Donors are screened to ensure safety and suitability of the donation for medical research and training. If you have HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B & C, active tuberculosis or syphilis, you will not be able to donate. Other considerations include severe obesity, decomposition, trauma or extensive orthopedic surgeries.

Science Care can accept donations from every state in the U.S. except Minnesota and New Jersey. Donations from outside the United States are currently unable to be accepted.  If you're over 18, you can click here to pre-register with Science Care.  You'll need to authorize the Donation Form and then the Cremation Form. If you're thinking you would like to donate your body to science, it's important to plan in advance.  This will allow you to discuss your wishes with loved ones and eliminate any confusion at the time of death.  Science Care has also compiled a handout on religious viewpoints regarding organ and tissue donation.  However, registration can also occur at the time of death by the next of kin.  There are no costs associated with donation and Science Care will provide transportation from the place of death so there is no need to call a funeral home.  This also means that it will not be possible to have an open casket funeral; the funeral may be delayed if family decides to wait for the cremated remains to be returned before holding the service.   Science Care will also file the death certificate, provide cremation, and return the remains to the next of kin, if requested. 

At the time of death, simply call Science Care.  If the person was pre-registered, you can follow the directions on their personalized ID card.  A staff member will need to speak with the next of kin to complete a medical and social history questionnaire to determine acceptance, sign any necessary authorization forms, and verify information for the death certificate.  Science Care is available 24 hours a day.

Are there any good organ or body donation organizations of whom you are aware or with whom you have worked?

2 comments:

Ashley Pritchard said...

Wow! What well-written article on Science Care! Thank you for your support of organ and whole body donation. I am a representative of Science Care and you represented our program extraordinarily well! I did want to clarify that Science Care does not facilitate organ donation for transplant. Science Care is a non-transplant tissue bank for whole body donation purposes, but due to the unique capabilities of our program, we actively encourage and allow our donors to be both organ donors for transplant and whole body donors through us. Organ donation for transplant takes first priority due to its inherent life-saving nature. Each state local procurement organization actually facilitates transplant donations first, before transportation to Science Care’s medical facility. To pre-register as an organ donor, you can find each state OPO here: http://www.sciencecare.com/pdf/OPO_List.pdf. Additionally, we want our donors to make sure and inform their family or next of kin of their wish to donate both organs for transplant and whole body donation through Science Care so that both can be coordinated and carried out efficiently. Again, thank you for this post and I cannot personally say enough how wonderful it is to know that each Science Care donor is helping save lives for our future generations. Science Care just celebrated its 10 year anniversary and we just recently honored each donor who so generously donated to Science Care over the past 10 years with a moment of silence. Check out our video of our 10 year anniversary at: http://www.youtube.com/user/ScienceCareWBD.

Anonymous said...

My Dad just passed away (04/12) and he donated his body to Science Care. Everyone that I talked to on the phone was very kind, professional, and they answered all my questions. I am currently waiting for his cremains. I hate to say this, but in our current depressed economy and the need for scientific research, this prevented a hardship for the cost of a funeral. Funerals are just a waste of money in my mind anyway. If you have any inkling of Spirituality, the body is just a shell anyway, and who wants to view a dead body for days,,, morbid. And this is why my Dad chose Science Care.