Bodies donated to the program at Connecticut’s newest medical school will be used to supplement the supply that is being used to teach the 60 students who will be part of the school’s first class when it opens in August on Quinnipiac’s North Haven Campus.
“Donating bodies to medical schools has become a more affordable alternative for many families especially during these times when the economy is not strong,” said James Casso, director of the human anatomy laboratory at the Frank H. Netter School of Medicine at Quinnipiac.
While the typical donor tends to be at least 70 years old, age is not usually a factor in accepting bodies for the program. However certain conditions, including obesity, low weight, edema, infectious diseases, dehydration and autopsy, can make a body unsuitable for the school’s educational purposes. Casso said he will examine each body at the time of death to determine if it’s suitable for donation.
The medical school, which will focus on primary care, will provide prospective donors with a laminated identification card with information about their wishing to donate their body. Prospective donors also should inform their family members of their plans.
After a donor is officially pronounced dead, the family should contact the Body Donation Program immediately. A licensed funeral director on the medical school staff will make arrangements to retrieve the body free of charge and bring it to the medical school, where it will be securely stored until it’s needed for educational purposes. The medical school has the capacity to accept nearly 100 bodies.
After completing its study of a body, the medical school will pay to cremate the remains and return the ashes to the family, according to the donor’s instructions. To honor its donors, the medical school will hold a memorial service that is attended by the donors’ family members, students and faculty.