Anatomical examination is where a body or parts of a body, such as organs, are cut apart to allow a person to look at the inside of the body or body part. Anatomical examination may take place as part of research, education or training for health professionals.
Anatomy Act 1977 only a person who holds a licence to practice anatomy (or their delegates) may conduct anatomical examinations.
A person who is in charge of conducting anatomical examinations at an educational, medical or research facility may apply in writing to the Secretary, NSW Health for a licence. There is no specific application form; however the application must include the proposed licensee(s), facility location, people who will have access to the facility, security for the facility, proposed activities, process for accessing, registering and disposing of bodies / body parts and ethics approval (where relevant).
Generally a licence is valid for 2 years subject to satisfactory annual inspections.
A person wishing to hold a one-off workshop or training session must apply using the procedure above, including documentation of the event.
Further information is available in
PD2011_052 Conduct of Anatomical Examinations and Anatomy licensing in NSW.
Body donation is where a person’s body is given to a body donor program and / or a licensed anatomical facility either following the person’s written consent prior to their death or with the consent of their senior available next of kin after their death.
In NSW a body donation program is usually organised through a university or medical research facility.
Contact your nearest university, hospital or medical research facility.
Anatomy Act 1977, a person who wishes to donate their body must provide consent for the donation in writing before their death. Alternatively, the senior available next of kin is able to provide consent in writing after death, provided that they are not aware that the person would have objected. The executor of a will cannot give consent unless they are also the senior available next of kin.
If the body is at a hospital or forensic institution, a designated officer at that facility must authorise use of the body for anatomical examination.
Coroner’s consent is needed where the death has been reported to the Coroner.
It is important that you discuss your wishes regarding body donation with your family.
Body donor programs generally prefer that the person pre-registers their consent so they can monitor the person’s health.
No. Each body donor program has its own consent form.
Under section 12 of the
Anatomy Act 1977, a body can be retained for a maximum of 4 years. Upon application an inspector may authorise the retention of a body for an additional 4 year period. Generally bodies must be appropriately disposed of within 8 years from the date of death of the deceased.
Specific provision has been made in the Anatomy Act for the permanent retention of tissue (anatomical specimens) where written consent has been given by the deceased prior to death. Where no consent has been given and the wishes of the deceased in this respect are unknown, the senior available next of kin may consent to permanent retention of tissue.
This depends on the program. Programs may use bodies for the teaching of medical and health students, training of surgeons in new surgical techniques or for research. Program specific information can be obtained from the individual donor programs.
This depends on the program.
Most body donation programs allow you to indicate on the written consent form conditions or terms for use, for example whether you will or will not allow your body or tissues to be used for research.
Program specific information can be obtained from the individual body donor programs.
It is important that you discuss with your family your wishes regarding your body/tissues being used for research.
Usually there are no costs to the donor. Program specific information can be obtained from the individual body donor programs.
Yes. Reasons may include:
Most body donation programs encourage people to register to be an organ donor as well as a body donor, if they would like to do so.
Unlike organ donation, which has the national
Australian Organ Donor Register, there is no single body donation register in Australia. A body donation consent form needs to be obtained from the donor program of interest.
Where a person has consented to body donation and organ donation, preference is given to organ donation if s/he is suitable, because of its life saving benefits.
Following organ donation, it may not be possible for body donation to take place because:
This depends on the donor program. Specific information can be obtained from the individual body donor programs.
If you have registered your wish to donate with a donor program you should make sure that your family know your decision. That way either your family or hospital staff can contact the program you are registered with when you die. More specific information can be obtained from the individual body donor programs.