Will Hospitals Give Back an Amputated Limb If You Ask For It? | Summary and Q&A

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March 15, 2018
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Will Hospitals Give Back an Amputated Limb If You Ask For It?

TL;DR

Hospitals will typically incinerate amputated limbs and organs, but patients have the right to request their own body parts back if they insist.

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Key Insights

  • ↩️ There are no laws granting patients the right to their amputated limbs, but hospitals often comply with requests for their return.
  • 🥳 Hospitals may falsely claim that returning body parts is not possible due to biohazard concerns, when it is often just an excuse to avoid additional effort.
  • ↩️ Patients should persistently advocate for the return of their amputated limbs and be aware of their rights in different regions.
  • 🇺🇸 There are few regulations regarding the ownership or sale of human remains in the United States, except for Native American remains.
  • 🇬🇧 In the United Kingdom, decisions on returning amputated limbs and tissue are made by hospital trusts and individual surgeons.
  • 🧗 Tests and proper preservation are necessary before amputated limbs or tissue can be returned to patients.
  • 🧗 Patients cannot legally have their amputated limbs cremated at licensed crematoriums without a death certificate.

Transcript

It’s standard procedure in most hospitals to incinerate any limbs, organs or tissue they remove from a non-organ donor patient. However, just because this is the way things are normally done, it’s not necessarily the way it has to be done. For example, while there almost universally doesn’t seem to be any laws saying you have rights to an amputated... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: Can patients request the return of their amputated limbs from hospitals?

Yes, patients can request the return of their amputated limbs, organs, or tissue from hospitals, although hospitals may not always make it easy. It is important to persistently remind everyone of your request.

Q: Are there any laws regarding the ownership or sale of human remains?

In the United States, there are few regulations regarding the ownership or sale of human remains, except for Native American remains protected by The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. Some states have specific laws restricting the sale of body parts.

Q: What happens to amputated limbs and tissue in the United Kingdom?

In the UK, the decision on whether to return amputated limbs and tissue is left to the discretion of hospital trusts and individual surgeons. Patients need to make their wishes clear and sign necessary forms. The tissue or limb needs to undergo tests and be properly preserved before being returned.

Q: Can patients have their amputated limbs cremated?

In most regions, it is not legally permitted to have an amputated limb cremated at a licensed crematorium without a death certificate. However, patients can request their limb back and burn it themselves. Hospitals usually incinerate limbs if they are not used for medical research.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Hospitals usually incinerate amputated limbs, organs, and tissue from non-organ donor patients, and it is considered standard procedure.

  • There are no laws providing patients with the rights to their amputated limbs, but hospitals often comply with requests for the return of removed body parts if pressed on the matter.

  • Hospitals may claim that returning body parts is not possible due to them being a biohazard, but this is usually just an excuse to avoid the extra effort involved.

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