Policy Number: 97

Deceased Human Bodies and Anatomical Specimens

Subject:

Appropriate management of deceased human bodies (cadavers) and human anatomical specimens

Scope:

Employees and students

Date Reviewed: October 2014

Responsible Office: Office of Academic and Research Affairs

Responsible Executive: Executive Vice President for Academic and Research Affairs

I.     POLICY AND GENERAL STATEMENT

The purpose of this policy is to establish guidelines and define accountability for oversight of appropriate management of deceased human bodies (cadavers) and human anatomical specimens at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (“university”).

The university recognizes that biomedical education and research requires use of deceased human bodies and anatomical specimens. The university is committed to respectful, dignified treatment of human remains.  The university requires all employees to obey all legal and public health standards pertaining to the use of deceased human bodies and anatomical specimens, including but not limited to Texas Health and Safety Code Chapters 691 and 692a and Texas Administrative Code Title 25, Part 4, Chapters 477 and 479, as well as the requirements included in the university’s Standards of Conduct (HOOP Policy 109 General Standards of Conduct) and the statutory Code of Conduct for Texas Employees (Texas Government Code Chapter 572).

This policy applies to all use or possession of deceased human bodies and anatomical specimens obtained by the university, including but not limited to:

  1. All use/possession by the Human Structure Facility/Willed Body Program administered by the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy in the Medical School and under the rules and regulations of the Anatomical Board of the State of Texas (SAB) (Title 25 T.A.C. Part 4);
  2. Any other university programs, organizational units and any university activities involving use or possession of deceased human bodies or anatomical specimens in the Medical School and other schools and entities whether or not they are under the jurisdiction of the SAB.

II.     DEFINITIONS

Anatomical specimens:  human body parts, including bones and viscera, whether obtained from deceased human bodies or surgical specimens; small quantities of tissue or sections of bone or viscera are not considered to be anatomical specimens.  A mechanism for consideration of exceptions or clarifications is provided in Section II.B.2 below. Teeth obtained from oral surgical procedures are considered in a separate category as defined in Section II.C.3 below.

III.     PROCEDURE

A.        Institutional Anatomical Oversight Review Committee

  1. The Institutional Anatomical Oversight Review Committee (IAORC) is appointed by the President to provide oversight for management of deceased human bodies and anatomical specimens.
  2. The IAORC is to be chaired by the Executive Vice President for Academic and Research Affairs (EVPARA), who is to be the Designated Responsible Party (DRP) for the university.
  3. The EVPARA may, in turn, assign management responsibility for the various activities involving deceased human bodies and anatomical specimens to various individuals, including the chairs of individual departments. In particular, the Chair of the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy is responsible for the activities of the Willed Body Program and Human Structure Facility.
  4. Day-to-day monitoring of activities and programs may be delegated by the chair of the respective department.
  5. On behalf of the IAORC, the Faculty Director of the Human Structure Facility and the Director of the Willed Body Program are to coordinate the receipt of reports from the various programs that involve any use of deceased human bodies and anatomical specimens at the university.
  6. All efforts will be made to include related responsibilities in job descriptions of all individuals with delegated responsibilities. Alternately, notice of delegated responsibilities may be described in a formal letter of appointment.
  7. The IAORC will meet at least annually to receive and review progress reports, exception reports and requests and available program statistics from the various entities involved with deceased human bodies and anatomical specimens.
  8. The IAORC is to monitor the activities of all university programs that involve any use of deceased human bodies and anatomical specimens. Failure of a program to comply with the policies and procedures of the IAORC may result in disapproval of further use of deceased human bodies or anatomical specimens and may be subject to further administrative review and disciplinary action.
  9. The IAORC is to provide an educational and training program regarding applicable policies and procedures for the use of deceased human bodies and anatomical specimens.

B.        Institutional Approval

  1. All deceased human bodies and anatomical specimens entering, in possession of, utilized, and leaving the university must do so as part of an activity, program or protocol that is registered with the IAORC.
  2. The IAORC shall review and have approval authority over all proposed exceptions and clarifications involving the use and possession of any deceased human body or anatomical specimen.
  3. Deceased human bodies or anatomical specimens obtained by the university shall be retained by the university unless an exception is approved pursuant to Section 2 above. The IAORC must review and approve, subject to applicable law, any transfers of deceased human bodies or anatomical specimens to any person, agency, corporation, organization, institution or other entity.
  4. Any deceased human bodies or anatomical specimens under the supervision of the SAB must comply with policies and procedures of the SAB in order to be transferred to any other institution. (25 T.A.C. Part 4, 477.5)

C.        Entry and Disposition

  1. All deceased human bodies and anatomical specimens (except teeth obtained from oral surgical procedures, see below) entering or leaving the university must do so through the Human Structure Facility of the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy in the Medical School. Any exception requires preapproval by the IAORC.
  2. Records of deceased human bodies and anatomical specimens obtained by those programs at the university that have been pre-approved to acquire deceased human bodies and anatomical specimens must be filed with the Human Structure Facility.
  3. All teeth acquired from dental procedures are to be received, recorded and dispensed through the Surgical Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology Laboratory and other appropriate venues of the School of Dentistry.

D.        Transport

  1. All deceased human bodies and anatomical specimens approved for transfer from the university must leave the premises through the Human Structure Facility by transportation methods pursuant to Texas Health & Safety Code §691.031 and consistent with all applicable SAB regulations including 25 T.A.C. 477.4 and 477.5.
  2. The Procedure Manual of the Human Structure Facility is intended to include all details.

E.        Record Keeping

  1. A detailed system for monitoring the location of deceased human bodies and anatomical specimens consistent with applicable law and SAB rules and regulations is to be maintained by the Human Structure Facility.
  2. Other departments and schools are to maintain a tracking system and file logs with the Human Structure Facility.
  3. All exceptions, including any change in location or protocol for the activity using deceased human bodies or anatomical specimens, must be registered with the Human Structure Facility.

F.         Disposition of Deceased Human Bodies and Anatomical Specimens

The standard practice for ultimate disposition of deceased human bodies and anatomical specimens is to carry out cremations at the university according to policies and procedures of the Human Structure Facility/Willed Body Program.

G.        Employees with Duties in the Human Structure Facility

All employees of the Human Structure Facility must have a valid Texas funeral director and embalmer’s license. Exception may be made by the chair of the IAORC if there are temporary manpower needs that cannot otherwise be met.

H.        Procedure Manuals for Use of Deceased Human Bodies and Anatomical Specimens

  1. Procedure Manuals for the Willed Body Program and the Human Structure Facility are available in the Administrative Office of the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy.
  2. The Procedure Manuals shall detail all mandatory policies and procedures, and all guidelines, for the operations of the Willed Body Program and the Human Structure Facility and the corresponding accountabilities of everyone with assignments in the Program. Development and maintenance of the Procedure Manuals are the responsibilities of the Director of the Willed Body Program and the Faculty Director of the Human Structure Facility, with review and approval of the Chair of Neurobiology and Anatomy.
  3. Every university unit or program which utilizes deceased human bodies and/or anatomical specimens is to maintain policies and procedures for the handling of deceased human bodies and anatomical specimens that are in accordance with the policies and procedures of the Willed Body Program/Human Structure Facility. Such Procedure Manuals must be on file in the administrative offices of the various programs.

I.          Financial Aspects

  1. All transactions involving deceased human bodies and anatomical specimens shall occur in accordance with established university policies, procedures and all other applicable channels. Any purchase that is determined to be inconsistent with such policies, procedures and all other applicable channels risks disapproval of financial reimbursement, disapproval of further use of deceased human bodies or anatomical specimens, and will be subject to other administrative review, civil and criminal penalties as appropriate.
  2. No person may receive remuneration from the sale of deceased human bodies or anatomical specimens.

IV.     CONTACTS

ContactTelephoneEmail/Web Address
Office of Academic and Research Affairs 713-500-3082

http://www.uth.edu/evpara/personnel.htm

http://www.uth.edu/index/research.htm

Institutional Anatomical Oversight Review Committee

http://nba.uth.tmc.edu/iaorc/