CME & Preceptor Development
Anatomical Donation Program - Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Will I or my family receive any payment for my donations to the program?

A: No. Under no circumstances will payment be made for a body or body part.

Q: Are there any age limits to be a donor?

A: You must be at least 18 years or older and of sound mind. There is no upper age limit.

Q: How far away can I be when I die and still donate my body to LMU-DCOM?

A: The servicing limits for LMU-DCOM are within 150 miles of Harrogate, Tenn.

Q: How much will the donation cost me or my family?

A: All expenses are paid by the University, from transportation at the time of death to cremation. However, the University will not be financially responsible for any arrangements made outside the guidelines of the program.

Q: Who should I tell about my wishes to be a donor?

A: A copy of your donor form should be given to the next-of-kin or executor in order to ensure that your wishes are carried out. You should also inform close family members of your wishes.

Q: Are there any factors that would disqualify me from donating my remains to LMU-DCOM even though I am on the donor list?

A: Yes, there are certain factors that would disqualify someone from a donation, including:

  • Contagious diseases (MRSA, hepatitis, HIV, etc.)
  • Autopsy
  • Mutilation (car accident, etc.)
  • Advanced decomposition
  • Organ donation (other than cornea)
  • Extreme obesity
  • Missing limbs or major organs
  • Had recent major surgery
  • Facility at capacity
  • Any condition of the body that deems it unacceptable for anatomic study

Q: Can I be an organ donor and still be admitted to the Anatomical Donation Program?

A: No. The remains are deemed unacceptable for anatomical study after organ donation. However, we do encourage you to consider organ donation first. Eye donation does not disqualify someone from this program.

Q: Can my family contact the school about any medical findings?

A: No. We do not perform autopsies nor can we disclose information about findings during or after the course of study. The mission of this program is to give our students of medicine a hands-on learning experience in the study of human anatomy.

Q: If I become a donor, how long will you keep my body?

A: Studies may be conducted for up to two years.

Q: Will I be cremated after the study period?

A: Yes, without exception.

Q: Can I have my ashes returned to my family?

A: Yes. Please see Form 1 in the Donation Packet.

Q: If I choose not to have my ashes returned to my family what will happen to them?

A: Interment of ashes will be in the University Memorial Garden.

Q: If my ashes are to remain in the University Memorial Garden, can I be recognized by name for my contribution?

A: Yes. A donor has the choice of either being memorialized by name for their contribution to the medical school or the donor may choose to remain anonymous.

Q: Will my family be able to visit the University Memorial Garden?

A: Yes. In fact, a memorial service is conducted every year on campus by the first-year medical students to honor donors. Families of donors are always welcome to attend. Families will be notified in advance as to the times and dates of the memorial service.

Q: If I die and am not a registered donor, can my family donate my remains to the medical school?

A: Yes. The next-of-kin or executor may sign a family member up for the program. However, all surviving family members must be in agreement to the donation. If there are any objections among family members the medical school will not accept the donation.

Q: May my family conduct a funeral service with my body present before my body is delivered to the medical school?

A: No. However, the family may have a memorial service conducted at any time at the family's expense.

Q: What about a death notice in the newspaper?

A: The family is responsible for the placement and cost of an obituary notice. The newspaper may confirm the death with our institution.

Q: How would my family obtain a death certificate?

A: The death certificate is completed by the funeral home or embalming service handling the case for the donor program. After the attending physician signs the death certificate, the death certificate is then filed with the health department in the county in which the death occurred. Certified copies of the death certificate can be requested from the local health department or from the Tennessee Department of Vital Records, Nashville, TN, (615) 741-1763. Death certificates typically take several weeks from the time of death to be processed by the Department of Vital Records.

Q: Who should be contacted in the event of my death?

A: Donors should discuss their intent to donate to our medical school with those designated to make final disposition, including next-of-kin, personal physician, hospital or nursing home. Upon your death, the physician, nursing supervisor, hospital or relative should contact LMU-DCOM at 423.869.6745 or 423.869.7011 during normal business hours (M-F, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.). After hours or on weekends please call 865.585.7428 or 423.869.7911.


Pamela Nelson, Body Donation Coordinator/Administrative Assistant for Anatomy
Lincoln Memorial University-
DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine
MS 4th Floor
6965 Cumberland Gap Parkway
Harrogate, TN 37752