Saturday, June 25, 2011

Let's admit it, it's not like you'll use it again

It's come up a couple of times on twitter now. The topic of body donation to a university for Medical teaching. Death really isn't something that people like to talk about much. But in my relatively short time in the skeptical and atheist (and admittedly nerd-tastic) community I've found that these reasonable people seem to be the most comfortable with their imminent demise.

These skeptics are overwhelming pro-science and medicine. Many of them have chosen careers in these fields. They understand the importance of medical research and high quality training for student doctors. They are also amazingly generous. With their time and skills devoted to the education and promotion of science, or the public debunking of misinformation and pseudo-science. They are also generous with their blood and tissues (ewww icky bodily stuff) with many proudly proclaiming that they donate plasma, platelets and blood regularly and are on the organ donor register.

However, few are aware that you can make advance preparations to send your body off to the local Uni. Furthermore, the Unis will collect the tab for the transport your life-less form, embalming and cremation. That's right, it's on the house. They only keep you around for about four years. Then they pack up your ashes and send them to your loved ones (I've asked mine to then plant a tree with burnt-up little me at the bottom of the hole for fertilizer. I wonder what your relatives will do with you?)

If you are interested, here are some links for body donation information at a University near you. And why not? By the time those slimy med students get their hands on your body, you won't be around to care.
Brisbane ; Newcastle ; Sydney ; Wollongong ; Melbourne ; Adelaide ; Tasmania   ; Perth

Edit: James Cook University in North Queensland wants you too.
And if you plant a tree on someone's ashes you need to know how acid/alkaline that plant likes its soil, or you could kill the poor thing.


  1. If a tree falls on me and kills me then after the uni is done with me I will specifically have the species that killed me planted on my ashes and hope like hell they are toxic to the tree - my revenge from beyond the grave! Muahahahahahahaha *gasp* muahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

  2. Amendment: skeptics can be nice and generous, until they plot their revenge against an innocent individual who had nothing to do with their death and was probably just a sapling at the time of the incident...

  3. I've been asked on twitter "how does it work if you have already listed as an organ donor? is it a free-for-all?".
    Well firstly, there are a number of conditions which may mean that your body does not get accepted by a University (these are outlined best on the University of Queensland page- follow the "Brisbane" link in the blog post). A number of these exclusions are based on the need to transport the body quickly to the Lab. So I would suggest that if you were to hang around un-embalmed and getting your organs harvested then you might not get accepted by the University. Just too long a wait.
    I'm an organ donor first and body donor second, because of my rural location it's more than likely that I'll "kick-off" outside the 'acceptance area' for Wollongong anyway.
    Hope I helped.
    If you are interested in this, please contact your local Uni and find out their policies