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Cornell Cell Biology
Gross Anatomy


  1. Complete Paperwork Fill out the included paperwork. Leave a copy with a relative, friend or lawyer and send a copy to Weill Cornell Medical College. Fill out the donor card and keep it with you at all times.

  2. Contact Cornell At the time of death, it is of great importance that the Program in Gross Anatomy and Body Visualization is notified as soon as possible so that confirmation of acceptance can be given. The telephone number is (212) 746-5677. Should the death occur while the Anatomical Gift Coordinator is unavailable, a number will be provided on the voicemail for whom to contact. There is a 36-hour limit to begin embalming before we must deny the donation.

  3. Approval The doctor in charge of the deceased and the Anatomical Gift Coordinator for the Program in Gross Anatomy and Body Visualization will make a decision on whether or not the donation is acceptable. The next of kin or executor will be informed of the decision within a short period of time.

  4. Removal If the bequeathal is accepted, then the college will arrange for immediate removal of the donor at no expense to the family or estate if the death occurred within the Greater New York area.

    If the donation is NOT accepted, the family or estate should proceed with private arrangements for burial or cremation. It is regretted that Weill Cornell Medical College cannot make any financial contribution to these private arrangements.

  5. Study The anatomical study takes between 1 and 3 years. Regrettably, we do not generate a report on the pathology of our donors. As the anatomical study nears its completion, we will contact the listed next of kin or executor in order to be certain that the information on the final disposition of the donor's remains is correct.

  6. Final Disposition After confirmation is received from the next of kin or executor regarding the final disposition, we begin the process of fulfilling these wishes.

    • The body is cremated by Weill Cornell Medical College in a dignified manner at no expense to the family or estate and the ashes are returned to the designated location as designated by the affidavit.
    • The body is cremated by Weill Cornell Medical College in a dignified manner at no expense to the family or estate and the ashes are scattered in our private plot in Rockland County.
    • The body is returned, without cremation, to a licensed funeral director at the expense of the family or estate.
    • In the event that no request is made for the ashes to be returned or the person designated to receive the ashes is unable to be contacted, the ashes will be scattered by Weill Cornell Medical College after a period of six months from the time of cremation.
Although not absolute, the following is a guide to reasons for not accepting a bequeathal:
  1. Post Mortem Examination (Autopsy): Such a donor can not be accepted.

  2. Transmittable Disease: Hepatitis, HIV, Septicemia, Tuberculosis.

  3. Jaundice

  4. Gangrene

  5. Artificial Stoma: tracheotomy, ileostomy, colostomy, gastrostomy, etc.

  6. Recent Operations: Where the wound has not healed.

  7. Amputation: A major segment of one or more limbs.

  8. Arthritic Deformity: Severe deformity of joints and spine.

  9. Obesity/Emaciation: Weight should be in proximity with height: weight ratio.

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