There is a continuing need for human bodies for medical education and research. At one time, the only source of bodies was unclaimed persons, dying, without known relatives to claim their bodies for burial. Voluntary donations by concerned individuals must now be relied on for the necessary education of physicians and other medical personnel. When such a gift is intended, it is always advisable to inform relatives of one's plans, gain their agreement, and give them the information that will help them carry out the donation.
These are the conditions under which a body can be donated: age is not a deterrent, nor is past or present disease. Conditions which cannot be accepted are cases of highly infectious disease such as MRSA, infectious hepatitis or AIDS; advanced decomposition or mutilation. Obese bodies (BMI greater than 29) cannot usually be accepted nor can bodies, which for any reason could not be adequately embalmed (such as prior embalming, autopsy, or extensive surgery within a week before death). For this same reason, bodies that have had organs (with the exception of eyes) removed for transplantation purposes usually cannot be accepted.
Local transportation costs will be paid by Vanderbilt (up to 50 miles). Since there is a problem of uneven distribution of bodies among the medical schools in the area, you may wish to indicate that you have no preference for a particular school as the recipient. This would allow the study to be carried out at the school with the greatest need.