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Times of India
24 July 2012

Pune:Body donation, the act of giving away one’s body after death for research and medical education, is picking up in the city. In the past three years (2010, 2011 and 2012 till July), 523 people have pledged to donate their body, shows an analysis of the body donation records at the BJ Medical College and Sassoon general hospital attached to it.

"The trend is picking up. Between 2007 and 2009, we used to receive 80 to 100 applications every year, but the number has increased to over 200 from 2010 onwards," said B H Baheti, professor and head, department of anatomy, BJ Medical College and Sassoon hospital.

"The increased awareness of pledged donations has resulted in our anatomy department receiving more cadavers for medical education for undergraduate and post–graduate students," Baheti said.

In 2012, the hospital has already received 104 applications showing willingness of the applicants to donate their bodies, he added.

The BJ Medical College needs 50 cadavers for educational purpose every year. "Of these, around 25 to 30 bodies are received through pledged donations. The remaining is sourced from unclaimed bodies," Baheti said.

Comparing to unclaimed bodies, in which vital organs may have got destroyed, fresh bodies received through donation help students learn anatomy better, he added

"The bodies are mainly required for MBBS students who are taught the human anatomy in detail. A group of eight students are given one whole body. Bodies are also needed for postgraduate students and for super–specialty workshops," Baheti said. "Anatomy is the study of the structure of systems and organs in the body. It is a very important course for medical students and forms the groundwork for clinical courses. By bequeathing body for the benefit of science and advancement of medicine, people are greatly helping medical students," said experts from Indian Medical Association, Pune branch.

S T Pardeshi, PMC’s medical officer of health, said: "Awareness and proper counselling of the family can bring about a phenomenal attitudinal change towards body donation. Donating bodies for research calls for a high degree of social consciousness."

"Students are told that this is a commodity that no money can buy. We are very respectful and grateful to those who donate their bodies.

Our students can become good doctors only if there are enough cadavers to study. No amount of computer simulation can teach as much as a real body," Baheti said.

PROCEDURE REGARDING DEATH CERTIFICATE

When the anatomy department accepts the donation, it also needs a copy of the death certificate with necessary information duly filled in by an attending doctor in stipulated pro forma. Besides, the department also needs the municipal corporation’s body donation pass. One of the PMC centres is located on the premises of Sassoon hospital. The department accepts body on working days between 10 am and 5 pm. In case of death on holidays or before 10 am or after 5 pm, the relatives can keep the body at the mortuary

of the forensic medicine department at BJ Medical College. Details are available on 020–26128000 (ext:297/307) nn MAIN NORMS

* Some conditions would prevent hospitals from accepting the body. These include: morbid obesity, extensive burns, mutilation or organ removal (except eyes), open sores or wounds, history of infectious diseases (hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, fulminating tuberculosis, etc) or if the body is in advanced state of decomposition

* In addition, hospitals will not be able to accept the donation, if an autopsy is done or if the person weighs more than 300 lbs at the time of death

* Determination of the acceptability of a body can only be made at the time of death, since the cause of death may not permit the body to be usable for medical teaching and research

* The anatomy department should receive the body within three hours of death. Failure to do so, may result in non–acceptance of the donation

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