My father is in end-stage Alzheimer’s and we would like to start the process to donate his brain for pathology studies. How do we get started in Louisiana?
According to some Gallup studies, as much as 96 percent of Americans support organ and tissue donation, but do not understand the process. There is no brain procurement program in Louisiana.
The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Bureau of Anatomical Services accepts a whole body donation and is responsible for the procurement use and disposition of the remains, which are assigned to one of its member institutions — LSU Schools of Medicine or Dentistry in New Orleans, LSU School of Medicine at Shreveport or Tulane University Medical Center in New Orleans.
Expenses for transporting the remains of registered donors are covered by the bureau, if the death occurs within 200 miles of New Orleans. Otherwise, the family will have to pay additional mileage in excess of the 200 miles. For more information, visit medschool.lsuhsc.edu .
The Life Legacy Foundation is a national whole body donation organization which accepts remains for medical research and education. It provides donation arrangements at no cost. Visit lifelegacy.org.
The Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, will accept a brain donation if the person is a Mayo clinic patient and has been enrolled in Alzheimer’ research. The clinic will also accept the whole body for general anatomy education, but the family will have to pay an average of $ 2,000 to have the body transported. For more information, go to mayoclinic.org/body-donation/overview.
The Harvard Brain Tissue Center through the McLean Hospital accepts brain donations. However, if a donor is enrolled in an organ and tissue program through an organ procurement organization, and the decision is made to place the donor on a respirator to protect the functional integrity of the organs while arrangements are made for distribution of the organs, then the organ donation becomes incompatible with a brain donation because the brain tissue degenerates and becomes less useful for research while the donor remains on the respirator.
For more information, visit brainbank.mclean.org/donate/.
Contact Dana Territo, the Memory Whisperer, director of services at Alzheimer’s Services of the Capital Area, (225) 334-7494, firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the organization at 3772 North Blvd., Baton Rouge.