Recently I had to get a new driver’s license and the Department of Motor Vehicles asked if I would like to be an organ donor, a question I’ve been asked before in years past. My answer has always been, “Yes!”
I have long been a person who does not care what happens to my body after I’m dead. When I was a much younger man I sort of thought I’d be buried somewhere, but over the years my preference has been to have my body cremated. I worked in the funeral home business for a couple years about 35 years ago and while I have the utmost respect for those who practice that art, I also have no interest in all the “stuff” that has to be done to make a body presentable for a viewing/funeral service. It’s (for me) a waste of time, effort and money. Just reduce my body down to its base amount of mass and then scatter the ashes and bits of bone somewhere (at the moment I’m leaning toward the creek that runs through Wolf’s Haven) or, if you feel the need to have some “part” of me around, stick an urn with my ashes on the fireplace mantel.
But, all in all, I don’t really care what happens to this old body.
Unless I have the opportunity to still help someone after my death by either donating organs that will save, extend or improve someone else’s life. Then my response is, “Take whatever you need, ‘cause I sure have no use for it.”
But I also remember, long before DMV’s across the country started allowing people to donate their organs, that when I was younger I planned to have my last will and testament indicate that I wished to donate my body to science. Usually if you donate organs then you cannot donate your body to science as they typically need all of it for medical research, etc. In fact, back then I was only aware of the medical student research possibility when donating your body, but there are quite a few more opportunities for research uses of your deceased body.
As this informative article points out, your dead body can be used for everything from med student cadavers to being a crash test dummy to being a “resident” of a body farm to an actual museum display piece and several other uses that provide helpful, sometimes invaluable, data to those who research the human body and how various environmental, physical, or bacterial events can impact (literally, in some cases) the human body.
I’m sticking with the organ donation route as that seems to be a way to help the most people, but it would not bother me in the least if, after harvesting as many usable organs as possible, the remainder of my dead body was used to make science better. And if some disease ravages my body making organ donation improbable or impossible, then donating my body to science moves to the head of the line.
Have you given thought to organ donation or donating your body to science? Which way do you lean?