Teaching hospitals in Iowa say they aren’t affected by a recall of cadavers that were distributed by a Texas hospital without being properly tested for AIDS and other infectious diseases. Darrel Wilkins, who heads the “deeded body” program at University of Iowa medical school, says there are plenty of checks on the bodies willed by their owners to research and study.He says they deal with veterans papers, death certificates, Social Security, funeral homes and state laws on health. Wilkins says about 200 people a year leave their bodies to the med school, though there are strict rules. They won’t take anybody who had a contagious disease, and they must fit guidelines for size. He says most bodies are used to teach anatomy to students in the various branches of medicine, and researchers get material from bodies for their research projects. Wilkins is a licensed funeral director, certification that’s required because he handles the medical and legal aspects of death for the University. And unlike the days when bodies of poor or unidentified victims were given to doctors to study, these are not “John Doe” cases. He says they haven’t had an unclaimed body in five years, and those who donate their bodies to the med school come from all walks of life including doctors and lawyers.
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