New procedures related to COVID-19

Donors who have recovered from COVID may now be considered for acceptance into the Donor Program. Donors must have recovered from COVID for a time no less than 90 days prior to the death of the donor.

The Donor Evaluation form must be completed and reviewed with our staff to establish a donor’s acceptability prior to setting delivery date and time. Also, if you have in your care a donor who is not acceptable, please notify the Donor Program so we may remove the donor from our active donor registration.

Here are some guidelines to assist you when arranging final disposition for a donor to the Gift of Body Donor Program at Washington University School of Medicine.

Upon the death of a donor

Preferably, we would like you to contact our program after you receive a call regarding a Gift of Body donor and prior to the meeting with the next-of-kin making final arrangements. It is easier if we discuss any complications to donate prior to the arrangement conference. Issues they can then be addressed with the next-of-kin at the time of the arrangement conference.

  • Donors should be registered to the Gift of Body Donor Program prior to the death of the donor. Occasionally we will consider a non-registered donor but a discussion with Dan or Ryan is required prior to any consideration.
  • Donors are never pre-approved for acceptance. Donor acceptability is established only after the death of the donor.
  • Due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, other restrictions have been added. Please refer to the Donor Evaluation.
  • Not all registered donors will be acceptable donors at the time of their death. WUSM reserves the right to refuse a body after death. Reasons for such refusal include, but may not be limited to:
    • if an autopsy was performed
    • a body was embalmed
    • organs were removed for donation or transplantation (only eyes and brain maybe removed after your death)
    • communicable disease or infection (i.e. HIV-Aids, Hepatitis B or C, MRSA, VRE, sepsis of any kind, C-Diff);
    • trauma to the body
    • recent invasive surgery
    • suicide
    • extreme obesity.

      Some other cases include advancing decomposition and contraction of the body. We realize obesity is subjective. We prefer an appropriate height to weight ratio. However, as a guide, men nearing 250 lbs. and women nearing 200 lbs. could be of concern. This should be discussed with the family at the time of the arrangements and, if not addressed in a previous call to us, certainly prior to the delivery of a donor.
  • Donors brought to the Donor Program must be received in a hospital type body bag. Transporting donors not bagged is below expected, respectable and ethical standards.
  • Upon delivery of a donor you must have a working copy of the death certificate. A final copy with causes of death will be needed from you when they become available.
  • Any transportation permits (Illinois deaths).
  • Prior to delivery of donor, you must speak with Dan or Ryan to establish a time of arrival. Due to varied staff hours, time off and other duties away from the morgue facility it is imperative to schedule your arrival time.
  • If someone is not in the morgue upon your arrival security no longer assists in the acceptance of donors.
  • We do not accept donors on weekends or holidays.
  • For further information refer back to the FAQ tab of the website.

Making arrangements to register to the Gift of Body Donor Program

If you are asked to assist someone in registering to our program you will always find the most current version of our form on this website. Do not pre-print multiple copies of the form. If any updates are made to the form, old versions are not accepted. Our online form is a fillable PDF document. Typing the personal information onto the form first then printing for signatures is suggested. We require the original form be mailed to our office. The mailing address is listed on the form.

If someone is trying to register someone other than themselves they should speak to Dan or Ryan prior to completing or sending any documents. Registration under Power of Attorney is possible but a review by the Gift of Body Donor Program staff of the Power of Attorney papers is necessary.

If someone is interested in donating a loved one after death they must first speak to Dan or Ryan.