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Frequently Asked Questions

Anatomical Donation Program FAQs


  • Will I or my family receive any payment for my donation to the program?

No, it is unlawful for exchange of money for anatomical donations.

  • Are there age limits to be a donor?

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

  • How far away can I be when I die and still donate my body to the Medical School?

The servicing limits for LMU-DCOM are within 150 miles of Harrogate, TN.

  • How much will the donation cost me or my family?

All expenses are paid by the University from transportation (within our service limits) at the time of death to final disposition. However, the university will not be financially responsible for any arrangements made outside the guidelines of the program (e.g. memorial service).

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

A copy of your donor form should be given to the next-of-kin or executor in order to insure that your wishes are carried out. As well as informing close family members to your wishes and who to contact in the event of death.

  • Are there any factors that would disqualify me from donating my remains to the University Medical School even though I am on the donor list?

Yes, there are certain factors that would disqualify someone from a donation;

- Autopsied
- Extreme obesity
- Mutilation of remains (car accident, etc…)
- Advanced decomposition
- Missing limbs or major organs.
- Infectious disease such as, but not limited to: HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis and MRSA
- Facility at capacity
- Atrophy
- Any condition of the body that may deem it unacceptable for medical study. For example, loss of limbs or major surgery just prior to death

  • If I am an organ donor can I still be admitted to the Anatomical Donation Program?

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.

  • If my wishes are to donate my body to the LMU Anatomical Donation Program but after my death my family objects to my pre-registered wishes to donate, will you still accept the donation?

No, we will not challenge the wishes of your family, therefore, the donation will not be accepted by our program.

  • Can my family contact the school about any medical findings?

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.

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

Studies may be conducted for up to two years

  • Can I withdraw from the program at any time?

Yes, simply contact the Anatomical Donation Program by mail or phone if you wish to be withdrawn from the donor list at any time. No questions will be asked.

  • Can I have my cremated remains returned to my family?

Yes, upon completion of the study the remains will be cremated. At that time the next -of-kin or executor (or designated representative of the donor) will be contacted regarding their desire for final disposition. If there is no desire by the family to have the cremated remains returned to them or attempts to contact families or representatives of the donor is not successful at the end of the 90-day period following cremation; the cremated remains will be properly interred according to the policies of the LMU/DCOM Anatomical Donation Program.

  • Can I be recognized by name for my contribution?

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

  • Will my family be able to visit the University Memorial Garden to donors?

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 times and dates of the memorial service.

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

Yes, the next-of-kin or executor to the estate may sign a family member up in 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.

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

Unfortunately no, it is vital that we take possession of the body as soon after death as possible in order to ensure that proper preparation is obtained for educational study.

  • What about a death notice in the newspaper?

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

  • How would my family obtain a death certificate?

Certified copies of the death certificate can be requested from the local health department (county in which death occurred) or from the Tennessee Department of Vital Records, Nashville, TN, (615) 741-1763.

  • Who should be contacted in the event of my death?

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, 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.). After hours or on weekends please call 865.585.7428 or 423.869.6911.

  • If I have further questions, may I contact the school regarding my concerns?

Absolutely, contact information is included in this packet.


In the event of a denial by the University, alternative final arrangements should be discussed by the donor and/or the family.


Pamela Nelson, Body Donation Coordinator/Administrative Assistant for Anatomy
Lincoln Memorial University-
DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine
Hamilton Math and Science Building, 4th Floor
6965 Cumberland Gap Parkway
Harrogate, TN 37752
[email protected]