U.S. medical schools see increase in body donations

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — U.S. medical schools are seeing a surge in the number of people leaving their bodies to science.

Medical professionals say because of this generosity, the medical field continued to progress.

The growing trend is attributed to rising funeral costs and people being more accepting to this kind of practice.

“People are just wanting to give back and so they’re saying what else can I do to help people even though I’m not here,” said Ray Dannenhoffer, Associate dean of support services at University at Buffalo.

UB officials say 30 years ago, on average, the school received about a hundred bodies a year. Now the university is seeing about 600 donations a year.

The school has about 18,000 people who have promised to give their bodies to the school after they pass.

Experts say without these donations, the medical field wouldn’t be where it is today.

“We develop new surgical techniques, make sure new surgical implants work the way they’re suppose to work, make sure the EMT’s when they come to your house in an emergency know how to intubate you,” said Dannenhoffer.

Dannenhoffer tells News 4, each body is treated and respected. “Their donations are invaluable, the university respects them, the students respect them and they can be assured that their loved one will be cherished.”

Professors say textbooks are a great learning tool, but students need hands on experience.

“There is no good alternative. They’re much better practicing it here in a controlled environment where if they make a mistake it’s okay, then practicing it for the first time on you and me where if they make a mistake it may not be okay,” said Dannenhoffer.

Every body is cremated after it is no longer needed at the school and the remains are returned to the families at no cost.

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