Body donation is a noble and selfless act, and Science Care strives to be able to honor the wishes of all who intend to donate their body for the purposes of advancing medical science and improving patient care.
One of the more heart-wrenching situations that can occur — when a donor wishes to make a positive impact through gift of donation — is the discovery that legal paperwork completed in life includes information and directives that do not align with the donor’s end-of-life care wishes.
A donation organization’s ability to facilitate a potential donor’s wishes for body donation may be affected by common legal paperwork such as:
In some instances, the information and directives concerning end-of-life care contained in the above documents supersede any other documents or stated intent when it comes to end-of-life care.
Inaccurate or incomplete information may prevent a donation organization such as Science Care from facilitating a potential donor’s final wish to donate. This would be applicable to both donation for live transplant and donation for scientific purposes.
In general, each of the above documents are available through your State government’s website in a templated format, which allows individuals to complete the document(s) by “filling in the blanks.”
While this format may make completion quicker and easier for individuals, these templates often contain language which may be confusing, language which is prone to being misread, or sections/fields which are easy to overlook — any of which can cause an individual to mistakenly leave them blank.
Take their time when completing these documents.
Make certain all sections/fields are completed, and that none remain blank (even if a section may seem redundant).
Over time, an individual’s end-of-life care preferences may change, as can an individual’s preference of the person or persons named as agent or representative responsible to oversee or complete the actions associated with end-of-life care.
Annual review to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in your end-of-life care documents is suggested.
The below links offer information and resources relating to documentation and paperwork commonly involved in facilitating end-of-life care:
It is important to make your end-of-life care wishes known to your loved ones, so they can officiate and facilitate your wishes when the time comes. An Advance Directive or Medical/Healthcare Power of Attorney could be a good option to document your wishes and make them known.
As with any legal document, accuracy and completeness are paramount to ensuring your desires, preferences, and wishes can be honored. Science Care encourages all who are interested in donating their body to science upon passing to explore these potential options to document their wishes, and equally encourage periodic review of such documentation to ensure its accuracy and completeness.