Division of Medical Education

FAQs

  1. Forms authorizing the donation of the body can be obtained by calling (858) 534-4536 or writing:

    Body Donation Program
    University of California, San Diego
    9500 Gilman Drive, MC# 0627
    San Diego, CA 92093-0627

  2. Anyone 18 years or older, preferably someone expected to be a survivor, may act as a witness. Two witness signatures are required on our donation forms.

  3. An attorney in fact (person who has legally been given Power of Attorney) for the donor may be able to sign donation papers during the donors life. Alternately, a spouse, registered domestic partner, or next of kin can make a donation after death.

  4. Yes.Your survivor or designated responsible party should be informed of the arrangements you have made. You may also choose to inform your family, doctor and attorney of your wishes. You do not need to include the bequest in your will, as a will may not be read in time for delivery of the body to the university. It is more important to have these instructions readily available on a wallet donation card or donation form and have your survivors be aware of your intentions.

  5. If you are admitted into a hospital, move to a retirement community, a nursing home or any type of care facility, it is recommended that a copy of the donation form be placed on your chart or care plan. When death occurs, the program should be notified immediately by calling (858) 534-4536. Arrangements will then be made to receive the body into our program.

  6. No payment may be made in connection with a body donation. This policy is in accordance with State laws, and all institutions accepting human remains must comply with it. However, by donating your body you avoid all funeral or burial costs.

  7. Yes, if the request is made in writing by the donor.

  8. The next of kin, executor, or hospital personnel should call the Body Donation Program office at (858) 534-4536. This same number should be called on nights, weekends, and holidays.

  9. We will accept donors from California, Southern Nevada and Arizona.   Deaths that occur outside of California are accepted on a case by case basis.  If death occurs outside of California we can provide the information of a body donation program that serves the state the death occurs within.

  10. UCSD will assume all transportation costs to deliver a donor to UCSD. The only cost to the family or the estate is the cost of the Death Certificate.

  11. No,state law requires both a licensed funeral director and a burial transit permit to accompany the donor when delivery occurs at the Medical School. This service is provided by UCSD. All donors are transported in a professional, ethical manner in vehicles equipped with proper mortuary transportation systems.

  12. Extreme obesity, or a history of contagious diseases (Hepatitis B or C, HIV, Jacob-Kreutzfeld, untreated tuberculosis, etc.) are the major reasons we cannot accept a donor.

  13. No. Age is not a consideration in body donation. Only the conditions described above may make a donation unacceptable.

  14. Most bodies are used to teach medical and pharmacy students, and in physician continuing education programs. A small number of bodies are used to teach students in allied health fields such as nursing and physical therapy. Some bodies are used for research or by surgeons to study new operative techniques.

  15. An organ or part from a body may be so unusual (such as an abnormally developed, or diseased organ or part), or so useful for teaching purposes that it is desirable to preserve it so that more than one group of students may study it. Such an organ can be "plastinated" so that it may be used over and over without deterioration.

  16. No.We do not conduct autopsies and no reports are prepared. Bodies are used anonymously in medical education and research and no record of pathological findings is kept by students.

  17. Autopsied bodies are only accepted on a case by case basis because the value for anatomical study of an autopsied body is limited.

  18. After studies are completed - generally a period of one to three years - the remains are cremated. Cremains are scattered at sea. Cremains are not returned for private disposition, and no notification of final disposition will be sent to the family.

  19. Yes. Medical Students at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine conduct an annual memorial service commemorating donors.

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