The Importance of Body Donation
Anatomy, the study of the structure of the human body, is one of the most important courses in the education of physicians, dentists, and other health professionals such as nurses and physical therapists. In most of these fields, the study of anatomy comes first in the curriculum and serves as the foundation for other courses. Often after finishing their basic anatomy course, students take special or advanced anatomy studies. In addition, physicians in residency training and those in practice often pursue special courses in anatomy. At the rate at which medical science is advancing, it is increasingly necessary for physicians and other biomedical scientists to conduct special anatomical studies and research. Anatomical bequests are greatly appreciated as each contributes directly to new understandings. The support from the general public, medical, dental, legal, and mortuary science professions is appreciated.
Body Donations and the Law
As a result of these basic and expanding needs in medical education and research, the need for body donations remains critical. Fortunately, many individuals have recognized and understood these needs and have bequeathed their bodies. In response to public interest in making these contributions to medical science, state legislatures have enacted laws to support such generosity.
In 1958, Michigan state officials facilitated body donation by individuals for the purpose of medical education. In 1969, the "Uniform Anatomical Gift Act" clarified the provisions of the previous act and provided uniformity with other states.