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Knife After Death: Would Your Recycle Your Remains?

October 21, 2014 3 min read

I don't like to think about death. I enjoy keeping my body healthy and strong, and the thought of it withering away into the soil one day is disturbing to say the least. When my 23-year-old sister told me of her post-passing "arrangements," I was frankly aghast. She has donated her body to science. This bomb was not dropped in a rebel-mercenary way like I would expect (i.e. "I'm not coming to my funeral!"). She just dropped it into casual conversation, wedged between "I recently took up rock climbing" and "I really need to do laundry." She honestly didn't think it was a big deal. "What do I care, I'm already dead." It surprised me that she was so nonchalant about it. I couldn't imagine a bunch of students cutting up my dead corpse. I had a hard enough time dissecting a pig in grade 11 biology class. Although, the squealing girls and giggling boys holding scalpels and scissors is a much different scene than you would see in a medical school, I'm sure. I got shivers when I recalled a story a golfer told me back when I used to work on the course. He claimed he had broken into a med school back in the forties and stolen a cadaver. He said he and his buddies brought it to several different parties throughout the night, before ultimately returning it to the building. He chuckled with nostalgia as he recounted the good ol' days, adding, "you kids just don't know how to party anymore." I like to think security is a bit tighter these days. I asked my sister what inspired her to donate. She said matter-of-factly that she could save way more lives through scientific research and medical training than she could save by donating a few organs. I started digging through other stories online and found that maybe I was being a bit close-minded about the idea. Here are four good reasons to donate your body to science: imageThe Pros of Donating Your Body to Science: 1. While donating an organ can save the life of the person who receives it, donating your entire body to science can ensure a surgeon graduates with the upmost accuracy and precision. Having dealt with real tissues, nerves, and organs, this increased precision could save hundreds of lives. 2. The bodies aren't just used by aspiring surgeons, they're used by scientists as well. Your corpse will be used for modern research to find new cures and advance medicine. This has the potential to save countless lives. 3. Funerals are costly, as are cremations and burials. If you donate your body, the school will take care of the eventual cremation or burial, and usually hold a memorial service after 1-3 years when the body is no longer needed. Many people donate to relieve their families of the costly burden of their death. 4. The process is quite simple. You just need to pick your favourite medical school, fill out a basic form online, and make someone close to you aware of your wishes so that in the event of your death, they can call the school and have the body transported as quickly as possible. Although I'm still on the fence about full-body donation. I understand and respect my sister's decision to forego the under-the-ground for the under-the-knife. Would you donate your body to science? Tell us your thoughts in the comment box. For more information, visit: http://www.giftoflife.on.ca/en/ http://www.mcscs.jus.gov.on.ca/english/DeathInvestigations/WholeBodyDonation/DI_body_donation.html

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