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30.10.2002 General News

Bequeath bodies to medical school - Doctor

By gna
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Professor Aaron Lawson, Head of the Department of Anatomy of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, on Wednesday appealed to Ghanaians to bequeath their bodies to the Medical School for teaching and research.

In an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Accra, Prof. Lawson said though bequeathing of bodies is not popular in Ghana and other parts of Africa, there are a number of benefits to be derived from such donations.

"Bequeathing one's body to the Medical School has many advantages. Paramount among these are that you contribute to knowledge and research and also reduce the high cost of funerals."

He explained that the source of dead bodies for teaching anatomy in the country was the morgue. "Unclaimed bodies are sometimes embalmed and given out for teaching. However, with the increasing number of students, this source is no longer able to meet the demand," he said.

According to Prof. Lawson, bequeathing of bodies was the source of supply of dead bodies for the western world.

Anatomy, he explained, was a subject, which dealt with the structure of the human body and how various parts functioned together. There is therefore, the need for students to have in-depth knowledge of the naked appearance of the human structure.

"A person wishing to bequeath his body must write to the Medical School declaring his intention. Since there are legal implications involved, the statement must be duly signed by an attorney of the High Court of the Republic of Ghana.

"Following a brief interaction with the Head of the Anatomy Department, he is given an application form to complete. Copies of these must be sent to the next of kin and to the head of family," Prof Lawson added.

According to him, people with certain conditions such as AIDS, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases would not qualify to bequeath their bodies for medical research.

He said the Medical School was not under any obligation to compensate the family or relatives of the deceased financially or otherwise for receipt, use or burial of the corpse. "A person who bequeaths his or her body to the school may retract the decision at least before death."

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