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Thread: Life Goes On: Organ Donation Thread

  1. #51
    wibbly wobbly timey wimey Seraphim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FloobaToob View Post
    I'm an organ donor. When I first signed up I was picky and chose what I wanted to donate, now it's whatever they fancy. I have black blobs floating about in my vision so thought nobody would want my eyes, but compared to a blind person, my vision is awesome.

    One of the girls I work with is a bone marrow donor. I looked into it, it's going to take a bit of convincing me, I know it's a bad reason, but I'm scared
    I offered to donate marrow to my cousin (She's the niece to my stepmom) but before we could even talk to someone about it, she died. :-/ She had talked to my stepmom on the phone and told her that the doc said her numbers were fantastic and she was getting out of the bubble they put her in, and in the next few hours she had died.

  2. #52
    Senior Member FloobaToob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seraphim View Post
    I offered to donate marrow to my cousin (She's the niece to my stepmom) but before we could even talk to someone about it, she died. :-/ She had talked to my stepmom on the phone and told her that the doc said her numbers were fantastic and she was getting out of the bubble they put her in, and in the next few hours she had died.
    Jeez, that's awful.

    Sorry for your loss

  3. #53
    wibbly wobbly timey wimey Seraphim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FloobaToob View Post
    Jeez, that's awful.

    Sorry for your loss
    I didn't mean to be a debbie downer..lol, I was just mentioning it because that shit is hard to come by.

    Thank you though, its been a few years but its still odd that she's not around. She was diagnosed and died all within a few months.

  4. #54
    Senior Member FloobaToob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seraphim View Post
    I didn't mean to be a debbie downer..lol, I was just mentioning it because that shit is hard to come by.

    Thank you though, its been a few years but its still odd that she's not around. She was diagnosed and died all within a few months.
    No debbie downer apology required.

    The speed of it all just made me sad.

  5. #55
    Senior Member morbidT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by White trash bitchy blonde View Post
    The hospital that my friend was at, the one with the fever (it was 105), they said his organs couldnt be donated but I never asked specifics on it but am curious about this.

    I would like to know:

    1. When a person is on life support and clearly no brain activity, how do they know that person's organs are okay or safe for a transplant?
    2. How long can the organs be left without oxygen being pumped into them before they are considered not useable?
    3. When the donated organs are taken out, and the family still wants an open casket, are there certain measures that have to be taken because basically a bunch of stuff was taken out and now their is alot of room in there? I just imagine like a body being caved in because things have been taken out.
    4. A friend of mine received a kidney years back, he had complete kidney loss and was on dialysis. They called him in and he was given one kidney. He got really sick and they found out that the kidney was bad. Makes me wonder about the screening process or if the kidney like 'died' en route to the patient?
    5. Are there any certain body parts that absolutely cannot be used no matter how healthy or sick the organ donor was when they were deceased?
    6. Does a person have to be on life support in order for surgeons to get the parts? In other words, a person dies at home and an ambulance picks their body up and taken to the morgue and they know he is a donor........can they still take parts from the person?
    I had too many characters and had to split this post up. The numbers below correspond to the numbers in the questions above.


    1. Someone is declared brain dead and the OPO (Organ Procurement Organization) is contacted for a potential organ donor. The OPO will discuss organ donation with the family. In most states, if you have it on your driver's license, state ID, or have registered to be an organ donor, it is a legally binding contract. If the person is listed as a registered donor, the family isn't asked if it is ok. The discussion is geared towards letting the family know that their loved one entered into the contract and what will be happening. If the person is not registered, we will talk with the family and ask for consent. Once this is done, the OPO will start ordering diagnostic testing to determine what function the organs have. This can be in the form of blood work, which determines all organ function (just like the blood work you have to check your thyroid, heart, cholesterol, blood gases, kidneys, liver,etc.), EKG/Echo for heart function, Bronchoscopy to look at the lungs, chest xrays to see heart and lungs, these are just a few out of several tests available. Placing organs can take several hours, and by several hours, I mean up to 24 hours. During this time, testing continues to happen to determine organ function. Because the person is dead, their body is not producing the normal "chemicals" living people do. As Organ Transplant Coordinators, it is our job to know what medications/drips and how much, to provide to the donors to keep the organs viable (good) for transplant into a recipient. This is how it is determined if they are okay and/or safe to transplant. Also when the OPO is contacted, UNOS is contacted (http://www.unos.org/). They are the ones that are in charge of the national list for every waiting recipient, for every organ. They "police" the industry to make sure that policies and regulations are being followed. We give them the donors age, weight, height, and blood type. They provide the list. The list starts out local, then state, then regional, then national. This is why placing the organs take so long. The first step is to call the first transplant center (where the recipient will be receiving the organ)on the list. We talk to that Organ Transplant Coordinator (give all diagnostic testing information, medical/social background), they talk to the transplant surgeon, transplant surgeon decides if he/she thinks the organ is "healthy" enough for the recipient (if no, we move on to the next on the list.) If the surgeon wants it for his/her recipient, they call the recipient and offer it to them. It is required, by law, to disclose all pertinent info to the recipient and they decide if they want to "take the chance" on that organ. If a heart and/or lungs are the organs being offered. The recipient transplant center comes to the donor. That means if the donor is in Cincinnati and the potential recipient is in Cleveland, the Cleveland team has to come to Cincinnati to get it. This is because the surgeon wants to see the organ(s) in person. There are some things that you can't see on diagnostic testing and can only see "in person." This is another way the transplant team determines if the organ is okay to transplant.

  6. #56
    Senior Member morbidT's Avatar
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    2. I'm not sure what you mean with this question. I am assuming you mean how long the organs can be out of the body of the donor before they go bad? There is a process. When the donor goes to the operating room, they are still on mechanical ventilation. They stay on MV until all the organs are ready to be taken out. When the organs are ready, there is a thing called "cross clamp." This means that a large clamp is clamped down onto the aorta, this stops the heart, ventilation is turned off, and perfusion of organs takes place with a solution specific to organ preservation. I like to refer to it as gatorade because it has all kinds of goodies in it to keep the organ viable. At the time of cross clamp, there is no more oxygen going into the organs. That is what the solution is for. Even though there is no oxygen, the organ is being preserved for transplant. It is NOT the same kind of preservation that takes place with embalming. The organ preservative keeps cellular changes at bay. Each organ has a "shelf life." That's what I call it. This is the time the organ is removed from the organ and when it is transplanted into the recipient. The kidneys can stay on "ice" for 3 days. Yes, I said 3 days. The liver is about 12-14 hours, but this is increasing as we speak. The heart is about 4-5 hours. Lungs is also about 4-5 hours. The pancreas is about 14-16 hours. Small bowel is about 8 hours and is also increasing as we speak. The receiving surgeon decides if he/she is okay with the ischemic time (time without oxygen).

  7. #57
    Senior Member morbidT's Avatar
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    3. Open caskets. Organ and tissue donation does not affect open caskets, at all. Although there may be missing organs from the body cavity, the funeral homes have equipment to aid in this (KWD might have better/more info on this). I know that some funeral homes use some type of cap to place under the eyelids and under the lips to keep shape/form to the face. I believe this is done to everyone, not just donors. Think of The Godfather where the Don puts the orange peel in his mouth to scare the kid. That's what the caps make me think of. Also, another fun fact. When an autopsy is perform, most morgues (hospital and coroner) DO NOT place organs back into the body. The organs are placed in a pan of formalin (formaldehyde) until the final pathology report is final. Once the path report is final, the pan is dumped and your organs get incinerated. When I performed autopsies, the only time we placed organs back into a body is if we knew the patient was Jewish. Other than that, they were a pan in a man.

    4. The thing about organ donation is that it is a risk and none of the organs are guaranteed to work once they are transplanted. Remember, they are still foreign to the recipient. There is no way to know 100% if an organ will function upon transplantation. Even with all of the diagnostic testing and visualization. It is an "educated guess." Transplant recipients can reject an organ at any time. Soon after the transplant or years down the line. It doesn't have anything to do with the screening process, really. It's really no different with a knee replacement. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Really.

    5. The only solid organs that are transplantable are: heart, lungs, liver, pancreas, kidneys, and small bowel. As far as tissue: skin (skin is technically and organ, but for transplantation purposes falls under tissue), heart valves, bone, ligaments, veins, and arteries. Corneas are also transplanted. Faces and hands are now being transplanted as well. Skin with a tattoo cannot be transplanted.

  8. #58
    Senior Member morbidT's Avatar
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    6. No. You do not need to be on mechanical ventilation in order to be eligible to donate organs. I know in previous posts, I probably said you had to, but it was really because things are complicated. There are two types of organ donors; Brain Dead and Cardiac Dead (DCD-Donation after Cardiac Death, formerly known as NHBD-Non Heart Beating Donor). Brain death is defined as the irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem. A physician, in accordance with accepted medical standards and following the hospital policy, must make the diagnosis of brain death. The time of brain death determination is the legal time of death. The physician who declares brain death cannot be the physician who recovers the donated organs.
    DCD- For donation after cardiac death to occur the following circumstances must exist: 1)A patient has suffered devastating and unrecoverable illness or injury and is ventilator dependent, 2)The family has decided to withdraw mechanical ventilation, 3)Death from cardiorespiratory arrest is likely to occur within 60-120 minutes following withdrawal of mechanical support. DCD is done in a controlled setting. This means that someone is on mechanical ventilation, but has lost most of their brain stem reflexes and WILL NOT recover. Death is imminent. This is not a coma. This is someone who WILL DIE SOON after the "plug is pulled." It is done at the hospital and depending on the hospital policy can occur in a few ways; 1) The patient is extubated in the hospital room. When they take their last breath, the hospital staff wait 5 minutes to see if the person will breathe again. If they don't, then cardiac death is declared and the donor is moved down to the operating room (there is usually hospital staff manning elevators and hallways to assure a quick trip to the OR). 2) The donor is brought down to the OR, extubated, wait for last breath, wait 5 minutes, then proceed. Sometimes the families want to go to the OR with their loved one to say their good-byes. Time is given to the family and when they leave, the donor is extubated and the process starts. The doctor that declares cardiac death is NOT part of the transplant team, either donor or recipient. DCD donors take far less time than a Brain Dead (BD) donor. Kidneys are the most used organs from a DCD donor, then livers, then pancreas. Hearts, lungs, and small bowel are not being transplanted from DCD donors. DCD donors is how organ donation came to be with the first transplant performed in the 1960's with a set of twins. Coordinators use to be on call. They would get a call from the hospital saying someone was dead. The coordinators would call surgeons and they would go to the OR. Because of he ischemic time (time without oxygen/perfusion) the organs failed many times and/or had poor performance. Brain death was discovered and organ donation evolved into it is today. Can someone die out side of the hospital and donate organs? No. Tissue? Yes. You cannot die at home, in a car accident, fall off a horse, etc., and be an organ donor. However, you may still be eligible for tissue and eye donation. Tissue has a longer "shelf life." I am less familiar with tissue donation, but I do know that some tissues can be procured HOURS after death. Some tissue has up to 12-14 hours to be procured. Tissue is also processed and packaged, given an ID number and put on a shelf. When tissue transplants are done, the hospitals can "put and order in" and it can be filled. Somewhat like a distribution center or blood.

    I know this is really long and a lot of information. I wanted to give you as many details as I can to explain the process. I also hope that I answered your questions and if this has raised anymore, bring it on baby! :-)

  9. #59
    Senior Member morbidT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZoMyGoddess! View Post
    Im going to back up what Morbid is saying: EMS workers and doctors do not concern themselves with who is an organ donor and who isnt. From what i have seen, once a person is declared brain dead and is on life support, then the discussion begin with the family about organ donation.

    I set people up for surgeries and i know that "organ donation" isnt a question asked to patients before any kind of surgery. The only question that is asked is whether they would take blood or blood products if necessary in a life saving situation.

    Just to state it, i would donate anything except my eyes - corneas, because im just scared of eyeballs, and i just... no. i want to keep my eyes. take anything else.
    A reason why people aren't asked if they want to be donors prior to surgeries is because a procurement can't happen (in the OR) just because someone died during surgery and is already in the OR. This is another myth that I have heard over the years. BTW, I'm not saying you said this, I just thought it was a good opportunity to address it:-)

  10. #60
    Senior Member morbidT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by White trash bitchy blonde View Post
    Hahhaa Zo, I said the same thing about my eyeballs too but really, once we are dead we wont feel the tugging and pulling and ripping out that comes along with the donation.
    See, if we (meaning you and me that like our eyeballs and are freaked out about it) are dead, we know the difference so let's unite here together in front of all our morbid death seeking online friends that yes, we dont want our eyeballs taken but when we die they can do whatever.

    Also, when I die I think it would be wonderful for all of you to show up at my funeral service and talk to my family members but when you do, address me by 'WTBB' or 'White trash bitchy blonde' and also introduce yourselves to my family and friends using your screen names here. Oh, and bring my boob pics with you in a nice frame and proclaim to my family how much you all loved me on the 'death site'.

    This would be awesome.
    I think that would be freaking awesome and hilarious! I would totes come! Procurement is actually performed just like any other surgery. There is an incision made just like any other surgery. If it is only heart, then an incision is made just like heart surgery. If it is just liver and kidneys, then it is an incision on the belly. If it involves thoracic and abdominal organs, then an incision from the chest down the belly is done. For eyes, it's just like having lasix. Instruments are put under the eye lid to keep it open and the tissue/muscle around the eye is dissected.

  11. #61
    Senior Member morbidT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZoMyGoddess! View Post
    anyone that knows me, knows i wanna keep my eyeballs hahahahah - anyways, im sooo fucking blind, no one wants my fucked mis-shapen corneas. theyd open their eyes and be like WTF!!! lol
    Do you need a cornea transplant? jk You can still donate cornea's if you were glasses or contacts. I'm not sure about the mis-shape. I need to find that out.

  12. #62
    Sofa King Tired PunkerDuckie's Avatar
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    Holy lotta words.

    Thank you for the info, Morbid. Your job sounds hard but amazing at the same time.
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    I want that fucking meat.

  13. #63
    Senior Member morbidT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by White trash bitchy blonde View Post
    The dr's don't know the moral integrity of their patients that need organs so basically being an organ donor means you are just an organ donor and you cannot stipulate who gets what and why. All anyone can do is hope for the best for that person.
    Oh and that heartbreaking time when the fmaily has to figure out of they want to donate, for me personally and not speaking for anyone else but even though i know someone will benefit from my loss, it's hard to set aside the emotions and thoughts of your loved one being 'cut up for parts'. That would be me that would be so upset that i wouldnt be able to make a decision fast enough.
    The transplant surgeons actually know the recipients pretty well. Prior to being listed on an organ waiting list there is a battery of tests and counseling. Not all transplant centers require the same things of/from their recipients, but most agree on most things. Each transplant center has a committee. The committee is typically made up of staff from the hospital. It could be a Pharmacist, Accountant, Nurse, Human Resources, Medical Lab Tech, etc. Then you have representatives from organ procurement and the recipient side (recipient transplant nurses). Each week, the committee meets to discuss who should get on the list that week. Their whole life is laid out. What kind of student they are/have been, how many children they have, how old are the children, any in college? grandkids? hobbies? own a home? rent? cars? boats? recreational vehicles? fishing? bowling? shopping? crossword puzzles? drug/alcohol history? jail/prison time? tattoos? how recent? piercings? suicidal thoughts? attempts? rehab? military service? how long? medals or awards? memberships? professional, military, fun? medical history? family support? who will be making sure you will take your meds, follow drs orders, make appointments? who is financially responsible for you? I'm not kidding. The committee knows everything about you.
    Here is what a committee meeting might consist of:

    Two patients are being presented to be listed for a liver. Patient #1 is a 22 year old female. She had her first child at 16. Dropped out of school. partied hard. Is in need of a liver because she did ecstasy and fucked hers up. She lives in a condo that her mom and aunt purchased for her and her child. She drives a car that her mom paid for. She got her GED and is in college because her mom and aunt want her to be there. She has failed a couple of classes because she didn't go to class, they were too early. She has a history of missing doctor's appointments. her mom and aunt do their best to make sure that she gets up and goes to her doc appts. Her mom and aunt help watch the patient's child, along with daycare at her college. She receives disability and is on welfare and receives medicaid. because her condo and car are not in her name, she does not have to list them as assets. her mom and aunt purchase any medication that is not covered by local and/or state insurance programs. She likes to shop, get her hair and nails done, eat sushi, hang out with her friends. She has never held a job because she has not found one that she likes.
    Patient # 2 is a 48 year old male. He has three children. One is a freshmen in college, with two at home. He is a HS graduate. He served in the military and is an active member with the AmVets. He has been married for 28 years to his high school sweetheart. He owns a modest home where he has lived for 25 years. He owns two vehicles, a boat, and two 4-wheelers. He enjoys spending time with his family fishing and riding 4-wheelers on his property. He is a Nascar fan and met Dale Earnhardt once. He goes to church and volunteers his time there. He lost his job when he became ill and could no longer work. He fought disability for 3 years before they finally approved him. His wife had to get two jobs. He has to pay for private insurance because he is not eligible for medicaid because of his assets, like his home and retirement fund. No drug, alcohol, or jail history. He loves politics. He makes all of his appts, keeps a journal regarding his medical problems/history, takes his meds as directed. He needs a liver because his crapped out (something that happens that has nothing to do with anything).

    Who do you list? Why? Why not? Here's how it went. I voted for Patient #2. He has a proven track record of being responsible and a productive member of society. He also did not cause his liver damage.
    I didn't vote for Patient #1 because she has not shown any type of responsibility in her life and she has not been a productive member of society. She only received her GED and in college because of family pressure. Her mom, aunt, and the system pay for her survival. She has a history of missing appts and has consumed alcohol and smoked cigarettes as recently as three months ago. She also caused her liver damage through illicit drug usage.
    How it went. Patient #1 was listed. The committee felt that she has more to live for than Patient #2. Patient #1 was young and had a young child. She had the potential to live a long time and Patient #2 already has lived into middle age and has had a very nice life. The committee felt that patient #2 would "get serious" when she received a new liver.


    Do I want to be the one who "judges" who should get on the waiting list? No. I hated it. But, it was my job. One of the purposes of having the committee is to determine if the potential recipient will take care of their second chance at life. Does tattoos and piercing and what kind of music you listen to matter? Not to me, unless the tattoo is fresh and you have been told not to get anymore, then you go to the bottom of my list.

    Patient #2 eventually made it on the waiting list. The committee meeting that week was very heated. VERY. HEATED.

    As far as the emotions of being asked to donate when you have just lost a loved one, my experience is that families who said no regretted it more often than not. It is a very traumatic time. Very emotional. The grief the families are facing and here I am asking for their loved ones organs. That is one reason why it is so important to discuss the issue before you die. Let your family know your wishes, register to be a donor, don't let it fall to your family to decide. It takes a lot of pressure off of the surviving family.

  14. #64
    Senior Member morbidT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PunkerDuckie View Post
    Holy lotta words.

    Thank you for the info, Morbid. Your job sounds hard but amazing at the same time.

    I can get a little winded I'm trying to be as specific and detailed as I can so there is no misinterpretation. I don't work in the field anymore (at least get paid), but I sure do miss it. With my medical problems, I can't keep the schedule. It was one heck of a job. I loved it!

  15. #65
    Senior Member morbidT's Avatar
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    Here is a link to a policy manual one OPO uses with their hospitals. It is full of really good information and will answer a lot of all the questions. It's dated 2008 so not everything is up to date.

    http://www.life-source.org/wp-conten...8-Revision.pdf

  16. #66
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    I love this thread! My 15 year old son just came home and showed me that he got his permit. He then told me that he was an organ donor. My jaw just dropped, that's a little close to home. We talked about it and he's all 'Im gonna be cremated anyways, let someone else have my parts'. So simple and he wasnt wanting anything other than for someone else to continue living because of his death.

    I also read to him what Morbid posted in response to my questions and he was really interested in it all.

  17. #67
    The Dude abides. strmmrgrrl's Avatar
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    You're kid is so awesome. Good job mama.


    Quote Originally Posted by bowieluva View Post
    Getting arrested for coke in Vegas is like being found eating a chocolate bar in the willy wonka factory.

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    Quote Originally Posted by strmmrgrrl View Post
    You're kid is so awesome. Good job mama.
    Spanks! He is a really good kid. He is helping at the hospital this friday for some kind of kid's education camp. He is taking his littlest brother with him (Dallas) and he is going to have Dallas help him do set-up of his booth and stuff.

    I sometimes forget how lucky I am with him until I see some of these other little teenage punks and then I thank my lucky stars.

  19. #69
    Senior Member morbidT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by White trash bitchy blonde View Post
    I love this thread! My 15 year old son just came home and showed me that he got his permit. He then told me that he was an organ donor. My jaw just dropped, that's a little close to home. We talked about it and he's all 'Im gonna be cremated anyways, let someone else have my parts'. So simple and he wasnt wanting anything other than for someone else to continue living because of his death.

    I also read to him what Morbid posted in response to my questions and he was really interested in it all.

    Your kid is a great kid! You're doing something right. Maybe you should write a book;-) I love this thread, too! I know my responses are long, but I really want to make sure everyone has the correct information and is interpreting the information correctly. I also think it is awesome that your son has chosen to be a donor! It does hit home, but now you are aware of his decision and that takes pressure off of you:-)

  20. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by morbidT View Post
    Your kid is a great kid! You're doing something right. Maybe you should write a book;-) I love this thread, too! I know my responses are long, but I really want to make sure everyone has the correct information and is interpreting the information correctly. I also think it is awesome that your son has chosen to be a donor! It does hit home, but now you are aware of his decision and that takes pressure off of you:-)
    Yeah, i like that he has made that decision for me. It will make it that much easier. No book for me to write, im only lucky. The other two are going to end up ruining me, i swear it.

  21. #71
    Senior Member Artemis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by strmmrgrrl View Post
    You're kid is so awesome. Good job mama.
    What she said. How cool.
    Quote Originally Posted by Seraphim View Post
    Why not just be an adult and go forward with your life. You do know the reps aren't real money or anything right?

  22. #72
    Senior Member morbidT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by White trash bitchy blonde View Post
    Yeah, i like that he has made that decision for me. It will make it that much easier. No book for me to write, im only lucky. The other two are going to end up ruining me, i swear it.

  23. #73
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    I thought that when autopsies were performed, they put all the innards in a back and either placed them inside the rib area and sewed them shut or they had the bag down by the feet covered up. Is that true?

    Also, when you donate your body to science, what all does that mean? I mean, a family might not be able to afford a cremation or whatever, so maybe they donate them to science? Do they keep them in a fridge for a certain amount of time so they can be studied and then they dispose of the remains after so many years or something?

    I read that Rocky Dennis' mother donated his body to science and that was many many moons ago. Do you suppose they still have his body?

  24. #74
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    Okay, and I bet this is like a really stupid question but how far off is science before a brain can be transplanted? Is that completly not possible because the brain is what makes everything work and a patient has to be brain dead in order to be a organ donor?

  25. #75
    Senior Member Artemis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by White trash bitchy blonde View Post
    Okay, and I bet this is like a really stupid question but how far off is science before a brain can be transplanted? Is that completly not possible because the brain is what makes everything work and a patient has to be brain dead in order to be a organ donor?
    Great question actually. This is a decent read on that, I think.

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/body/br...ansplants.html

    With the science question, it depends. The body parts may be separated for multiple uses, or they may keep your body intact for practice among medical students. In my anatomy class we worked on human cadavers. They were stored in formaldehyde, not cryogenically frozen (cryopreserved), but that may vary. Then there might be a future for the cadaver to be a star in the bodies exhibit.
    http://www.bodiestheexhibition.com/a...xhibition.html
    Quote Originally Posted by Seraphim View Post
    Why not just be an adult and go forward with your life. You do know the reps aren't real money or anything right?

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