Japanese Funeral 101 bodies donated to medical

When someone dies, the undertaker usually brings back the body to the morgue or to the desired place of rest. But there are times which bodies are used for medical development and studies.

On October 25, 2009, at Enkakuji Temple in Kamakura, there was a symposium of donation of body to the up most medical technology. There was an issue of not enough bodies to study by the medical students. These medical students will have to go to abroad and purchase body and time at other universities and hospitals to learn medical practices. The problem arises here, where not enough to go around to begin with within the hosting country thus giving it to someone from another country. A code of ethics and economy arise within the nation.

The medical student will learn using the bodies donated by some families to learn operations and vital tasks. These trainings will eventually help enhance the medical knowledge and decrease malpractice.

Well, the WHO has banned the over-seas trainees practice due to emotional bias and buying the bodies. In Japan, many of the hospitals will NOT take anyone with ANY infections such as MRSA, HV, or anything. But the doctors and trainees in the USA signs a document saying “any risk of getting themselves infected during these trainings, is up to themselves” whereas in Japan, it does no.

Even though the survived families wish to donate the bodies for medical practice, the hospitals and many of the universities is said to NOT accept the bodies unless there is a very special reason for the study. There are several reasons I can think of it why it is NOT accepted.

1) Not enough budget — even though the bodies are donated, the hospital will need to pay for the certain ceremonial fees for the funeral. Even though, the survived family is donating for good will cause, the medical services do NOT have any budget aside for that.

2) Risk of contamination to the doctors — strangely enough, any surgery that opens up the inside of human bodies risk air contamination of desease to the doctors but the doctors and the medical system simply will not take any risk for the benefit of mankind. There is a risk of second hand contamination to the staff and family and wish to decrease any chances.

3) Lack of consensus by the people — Japanese are not immuned to the idea of donating the body to the medical system. Once dead, the general feeling is to have a funeral and bury in the family grave after cremation. There is not enough general consensus among the Japanese for using the bodies for medical training.

These are some thoughts that Japanese would need to understand more for medical technology to grow along with tagging up with the funeral systems.

Undertakers are the only contact between the medical system and the survived family which can ask for the bodies to be donated. Donating cornea is another volunteering task performed by the undertakers asking the survived family if they wish to donate and give light to someone needed. But even with the good will and faith of the both side (undertaker and the survived family) there are times that medical system will NOT accept by stating “oh, your father is too old”, an excuse by the doctors not wanting to perform or give time. But after urging the cornea to be donated, the received family appreciates the anonymous gift. Hippocratic oath or hypocrite oath?

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