A selfless gift

“A gift of knowledge, a lifetime of discovery” are the words chosen to describe a program called Somatic Explorations.

“A gift of knowledge, a lifetime of discovery” are the words chosen to describe a program called Somatic Explorations.

Somatic Explorations is an organization out of Coquitlam that looks after the Gift of Body or Anatomical Gift Program.

We have all heard over the years of putting an organ donor sticker on our drivers licenses so that when we pass away our bodies can be donated to science research or transplant.

This is similar to organ donations which take precedence over whole body donations which is only what Somatic can accept.

Its mission statement mentions they are “to provide a detailed study of the anatomy of the human body for medical education that constitutes an invaluable and indispensable part of a complete experience.”

Each year human remains donated for use in the education of physicians, nurses, chiropractors, physiotherapists and registered massage therapists and a host of other medical professions provide hands-on education to these students.

Health-care professionals and care givers often pursue special courses in anatomy; the gift of human donation will assist these professionals in revisiting and honing their skills learned in theory.

Any competent person over 18 may donate their body to medical study and research.

After-death donations may also be made by a next-of-kin or executor. I think it is fair to say that not everyone who decides to donate their remains to science will be accepted. According to Somatic Explorations policy, a body may be rendered unsuitable if the deceased was autopsied, has certain infectious diseases, had extensive trauma at time of death, or has extreme obesity or malnutrition at time of death.

Somatic Explorations Inc. does not offer payment for bodies, but will assume responsibility for appropriate administrative and filing fees, as well as for the cost of transportation of the remains to its lab or to a similar facility near that person’s place of death if a great distance away. Human remains studies conducted vary from individual to individual case with studies being completed approximately 12 -24 months after donation.

Following the study, each body is cremated and placed in a sealed urn and families can choose to have the urn buried in the Coquitlam Cemetery or have them returned to their loved ones for final disposition of their choosing.

If you wish to donate to a most selfless gift or would like to get more information on the web visit www.somaticexplorations.com or on Facebook at Somatic Explorations.

Ron Malmas is the manager and funeral director/embalmer at Compassionate Care Funeral Home.

If you have any questions for a future column, contact him at 250-392-3336.