In the world of medical research and education, there is no substitute for the human body. When physicians are learning surgical procedures or companies are developing medical devices for use with living patients, the ability to practice and test these advances on human cadaver tissue can literally save lives. This makes whole body donation programs like MedCure’s, which assists in the placement of generous anatomical donations with programs actively working toward the betterment of medical knowledge and practice, absolutely vital to the future of medicine.
Unfortunately, there is currently very little oversight of the anatomical donation industry. This lack of regulation and accreditation requirements allows for the proliferation of irresponsible and unethical parties to enter the industry. These bad actors, often called body brokers, take advantage of donors and place medical researchers at risk by failing to perform infectious disease screenings or adhere to infection control standards required for reliable research.
MedCure believes strongly that regulation of the whole body donation industry is fundamental to the protection of both donors and the medical researchers and educators who are working to save and improve lives on a daily basis. For this reason, the company has recently sponsored state legislation introduced in Oregon, which would require national accreditation for any whole body donation organizations operating within the state. It would also allow Oregon residents to indicate their desire to participate in body donation on their driver’s license, alongside organ and tissue transplant donations.
While only 3 in every 1,000 deaths in the United States occurs in a manner that allows for viable organ transplant donation, many more people are eligible to participate in whole body donation. The legislation supported by MedCure would encourage more people to register for all forms of donation and allow those who wish to make a contribution to society to do so, even if they cannot donate organs for transplant. It would also protect whole body donors by requiring at all Oregon donors be placed with accredited programs.
National accrediting organizations, such as the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB), place strict controls on body donation organizations. In order to acquire and maintain accreditation, companies must screen all potential donors under a “life comes first” requirement, which prioritizes life-saving organ transplant above donation for research and education; perform infection disease screening according to current FDA guidelines; and ensure that all donations are sent to only legitimate research and education institutions.
The Oregon State Legislature is currently deliberating on the merits of SB-144 and HB 2194 – Anatomical Donations for Research and Education. MedCure hopes that they will make the decision that best supports the advancement of medical science, while ensuring the safe and ethical treatment of all the generous donors who make those advances possible.
If you are interested in learning more about whole body donation and the role that it plays in advancing medical science, you can visit us online at medcure.org. Or, you can call our 24/7 toll free number 866-560-2525 to speak with one of our knowledgeable Donation Coordinators.