Department of Anatomy and Medical Imaging

At the time of death (information for families)

The following is a general guide for you to follow at the time of death.

A – Death occurs at home expected
Please phone the Doctor who has been caring for the deceased (this could be their GP or a Hospice Doctor) and your chosen Funeral Director.  Please advise them of the deceased’s wish to donate their body.

B - Death occurs at home unexpected
Please phone 111 and inform them a death has occurred. They will inform the appropriate services who will make contact with the deceased’s Doctor.   Please advise them of the deceased’s wish to donate their body.

C – Death occurs at hospital or rest home
Once the treating hospital Doctor has been notified of the death, please contact the Funeral Director of your choice (this may be done for you by the hospital or rest home). Please advise them of the deceased’s wish to donate their body.

NB Prior to acceptance into the programme a Death Certificate must be signed by the treating Doctor - this is organised by the Funeral Director or hospital.

During working hours (Monday - Friday 8am-4pm) please contact the Human Body Bequest Programme on 09 923 6703. This can be done by you, the Funeral Director, Doctor or Duty Manager at the hospital or rest home. 

If the death occurs overnight or in the weekend please contact your Funeral Director for assistance.

A bequest can only be accepted with the consent of the next of kin.  At the time of death we will need to speak with the next of kin in order to gain their consent.  We also need to get medical details from the treating doctor, in order to decide if the donation can be accepted.  Therefore it is crucial that you have notified the family, treating doctor and funeral director of the deceased’s wishes to donate their body.  

Having spoken to the family and doctor, the on-call anatomist will decide whether the donation can proceed. We endeavour to accept every case, however occasionally we may be unable to accept the donation for medical or logistical reasons.  We understand that this can be an added stress if we do not accept the body.  We apologise for this. Your Funeral Director will be able to help you to make alternative arrangements.

If the donation is accepted we will liaise with the Funeral Director to make all of the necessary arrangements for transport of the body to our facility.  The University will pay the costs of transporting the deceased to the medical school and for cremation.  The other costs (registration of death, any family memorial services) are the responsibility of the estate.

It is necessary that the transfer of the deceased’s body to us happens promptly and this means it is not possible to have a traditional funeral service or hold a formal viewing. However if you wish to hold a memorial service without the body being present please discuss this with your Funeral Director.

We sincerely thank you for your most generous support of the Human Body Bequest Programme.

For all enquiries please contact:

Bequest Coordinator
Phone: +64 9 923 6703
Fax: +64 9 923 9500