WHEN Doireann Ní Ghríofa was 17 and a first-year dentistry student in University College Cork (UCC), she arrived at the anatomy department one morning to find a dead elderly woman lying on the table before her.
“Initially, like a lot of young people, I thought how strange. It took a while to work through that. But right from the start, I felt moved by the sense of gift. This person had given their body for the sake of me learning from them.
- If you are interested in donating your body to UCC, contact the Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience and ask for the relevant application forms/information;
- The consent form will ask for routine personal information, optional medical history, and your wishes for what should happen to your remains when the study period is finished. Donors may choose cremation, burial in a UCC plot, or burial in a private family plot.
- The consent form must be signed by the person donating (who must be aged 18 or over) and by one witness. The witness should be the person who will liaise with UCC at the time of death and when remains are released for burial/cremation.
- There are some reasons why a body may not be accepted. These include organ donation, post-mortem/autopsy, more than 48 hours since death, blood-borne illnesses or reportable infections (eg HIV, Hepatitis B or C difficile), very recent surgery, extremely under- or overweight.
- A family member/next of kin, doctor, or nurse should let the Department of Anatomy know about the death as soon as possible. Family/friends may arrange a funeral service, but it is vital that UCC receives a body within 48 hours of death.
- On arrival, the body is prepared for embalming. It will be preserved with a formaldehyde-based embalming fluid that allows department/students to do anatomical examinations and maintains organs in a very structured way. Each body is given a unique ID number, and the body is stored in UCC’s mortuary.
- On June 27, Cork Midsummer Festival and Doireann Ní Ghríofa present online from The Everyman stage a live reading from ‘A Ghost in the Throat’, with accompanying visuals by filmmaker Tadhg O’Sullivan and soundscape by composer Linda Buckley.