Current Affairs
More Maltese donate their corpse for University research

A growing trend has been noticed of persons who give their consent to leave their corpse for further research. One such case four years ago created many emotions which are still positively felt. Footage in this story may be sensitive to some persons.

The gesture by teacher Josette Agius who four years ago died at the age of 49 and gave her consent so that study is carried out on her corpse by University medical students left its mark as more persons are registering with the Anatomy Department to leave their corpse for research.

The Department’s head, Prof. Jean Calleja Agius, said that before the death of Josette Agius, the department used to receive an average of 12 donations a year. Today the figure has doubled. “Currently I can say we are receiving a daily application, which means more than 300 a year”.

She added that an agreement for the donation of a corpse is made when the person is still alive and has to be registered also in a will. The donor chooses whether in the research, the corpse is kept as a whole or otherwise. At the end of the research, the University takes care of the burial and informs the relatives of the donor.

Professor Calleja Agius stated that persons who register to donate their corpse for research may also register as organ donors.

“For example, If I register on the organ donor registry, however time passes and I die due to cancer or age, where obviously none of my organs may be used for others – in that case my corpse is useful for study”.

The corpse donation is very useful for some 300 students in the course of medicine a year to study on them. The Professor said that the head and neck are the most delicate parts of a body for analysis, adding that research on cancer is made possible with the study of the anatomy of a body that no book will provide.

The first corpse donation to the Anatomy Department was made almost a 100 years ago, on the 31 October 1918.