Anatomical Donation

Hope Memorial Chapel has had the honor of assisting the University of New England’s Body Donation program since 1976, which began with one of our predecessors, R.G. Bolduc and Sons. At the time of death, we transport the deceased to our facility to prepare the body according to the University’s instructions and then transport the deceased to the University. We also prepare all the necessary paperwork to registrar the death certificate with the state of Maine.

Health care professionals must have a thorough knowledge of the structure of the human body. This is obtained early in their education by studying anatomy through the dissection of the human body. The need for human bodies can be met only if people interested in health care education arrange to contribute their bodies to a university immediately following death.

There is no upper age limit for whole body donation, nor does amputation of limbs preclude acceptance. Medical conditions that would prevent acceptance as a donor include: HIV, hepatitis, tuberculosis, and Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease. Extensive trauma to the body at the time of death, advanced decomposition, or extreme obesity would also make the body unsuitable for anatomical study.

Acceptance of an anatomical gift is contingent upon the needs of the University at the time of donor’s death or at the time of notification by the next-of-kin or executor of the will of the deceased person that a gift is to be made. Accordingly, donors should always make alternative arrangements for cremation or interment in the event that the University is unable to accept a gift.

Donated bodies are mostly used for medical education, but the University also uses donor bodies as part of programs in dentistry, physical / occupational therapy, physicians’ assistance and applied exercise science / athletic training. Local first responders, including emergency medical technicians and paramedics from throughout New England also have the opportunity to obtain additional training to help to improve healthcare for our communities. Additionally, donor bodies are used for research such as developing new surgical procedures and learning new clinical techniques by resident physicians and outside practitioners.

Anyone interested in donating his or her body to the University must be signed up with the program prior to death. Once a person has died, the University will not be able to accept them into the program. For more information please visit their website at: or call the program director, Hank Wheat at 207-602-2202.

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