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Queen Mary in Malta

Body Donation

Gifting your body to the Medical School at Queen Mary University London & Barts on Gozo is an opportunity to contribute to medical science – as anatomical studies are the foundation of medical education.

While students learn anatomy from medical images and plastic models, anatomical dissection informs their knowledge of the human body in ways vital to good patient care and safe clinical procedures. Your gift will support the education of future doctors, qualified doctors taking postgraduate training and other healthcare professionals.

 

Bequeathal Coordinator

 Dr Stenton Mackenzie

 Phone: +356 9910 8044

 Email: bodydonation@qmul.ac.uk

The bequeathing process

The first step is to contact us via the Bequeathal Coordinator at the Medical School. We will send you an information pack. All consent forms to bequeath a body are in paper format; they cannot be completed or sent to us electronically. If you decide to bequeath your body, two copies of the consent form are signed by yourself in the presence of a witness. One copy is returned to the School of Medicine.

At the time of death, a doctor, nurse or carer should be made aware of a donor’s wish. They, or the next of kin or executor contact the bequeathal coordinator as soon as possible, who will be available during office hours (9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday). At all other times, a recorded message gives you the correct number(s) to call for assistance.

Once a death certificate is issued and the bequest accepted, the School will arrange transport to the Anatomy Centre at the School. When a donated body is received, it is allocated a unique number (to maintain confidentiality). The body is embalmed to preserve the tissues to make it suitable for anatomical examination and dissection. When anatomical studies are completed, if you decide to opt for burial at a dedicated area in Nadur Cemetery, the Medical School will pay for reasonable funeral charges.

Consent

People wishing to bequeath their body give their informed consent in writing. In your consent, you can specify:

  • the length of time your body or body parts are retained for anatomical examination
  • whether there is use of anonymised images of your body or body parts in relation to education in human health or research in connection with disorders/functioning of the human body.

If, at any time before your death you wish to change your mind about bequeathing your body, you have the right to do so. If you wish to withdraw, all your details will be deleted from our records.

Reasons for not accepting a bequeathal

The School makes every effort to accept bequests. Some of the following reasons however, may be cause for refusal:

  • Post mortem (autopsy required)
  • Some infectious diseases (of which COVID-19 is one)
  • Severe degeneration of the skin
  • Peripheral vascular disease
  • Severe spinal deformity
  • Significant over weight
  • Widespread malignancy
  • Organ donations (other than corneas)
  • Advanced oedema
  • Certain types of chemotherapy.
We can accept a body that has no evidence of COVID-19 as a cause of death.

Ethics 

At the time of death we quickly gather all the relevant information and advise promptly. Where a bequeathal cannot be accepted the responsibility for arranging and funding the burial will rest with the next of kin or executor.

The Medical School follows stringent controls provided by the European Tissue Directive (2004), the Human Tissue Authority (in the UK) and the Tissue & Cells (Quality and Safety) Regulations (S.L. 483.01) which set out a legal framework for the storage and use of human tissue. Adherence to the associated codes of practice is the responsibility of the Anatomy Centre staff; the Centre is secured at all times and accessible only by authorised personnel. 

Advice and assistance

If you would like to know more about bequeathing your body to the Medical School, please get in touch with the bequeathal coordinator at the Anatomy Centre. We have experience and are knowledgeable in dealing with inquiries from donors and families. Please do contact us if you would like to talk. The bequeathal coordinator is available via email, by telephone or can meet with you in person:

Queen Mary, Malta Campus 

Anatomy Centre

Triq L’Arċisqof Pietru Pace

Victoria, Gozo, Malta

VCT 2520