Donating an organ or even a whole body for scientific study or medical education is a relatively common event, which permits a person with perhaps a rare or not well understood disease to contribute to medical science. Even if the person passes without a disease or any unique characteristics, medical schools need these volunteers for very important work. Some people see their act as an act of charity, a way of giving a gift to society. Organ donation helps to reach even more people by providing spare parts for surgeons, for those who need a replacement organ or tissue. It has been estimated that 114,000 Americans are awaiting organ transplants and that one person is added to the list every 11 minutes and that each year 6,600 people die each year while on the organ transplant list.
ANATOMICAL GIFTS PERMITTED VIA WILL
In 2005, the New York legislature passed a law which made it easier to give an anatomical gift. Organ donation is easy enough now, as it can be a mere check the box designation on your driver’s license. No additional signatures or witnesses are needed. New York further permits a person to validly donate their organs or their whole body by way of will. If the will is later invalidated, the donation is considered valid and any physician or medical school acting on the gift is shielded from liability. Some people with religious or moral objections to donating their body may still decide to donate organs without violating their conscience or religion. Even with these provisions in place, it is still best to discuss these decisions with your family and loved ones.