When should I notify the on-call Tissue Donation Coordinator of the death or imminent death of the donor?
Relatives should notify the Rocky Mountain Multiple Sclerosis Center Lab immediately after death, or before hand if death is imminent. The tissue bank coordinator is on 24-hour call, however, very few arrangements for pathologists can be done after business hours or during the weekend. If the donor is in a critical state, it is beneficial to alert the Rocky Mountain MS Center Tissue Bank of this condition before the time of death. After death, the remains should be transported to the hospital morgue, or the funeral home of the family’s choice and kept cool until tissue removal arrangements can be made.
How will transportation of the donor be handled?
At the time of death, it is the family’s responsibility to notify their funeral home of choice and indicate that the remains must be held and kept cool for tissue donation. Often times, the funeral home will offer to transport the donor’s remains to and from a procedure room for tissue removal. A Tissue Bank Coordinator will then work with the funeral home to locate a local pathologist and arrange transport to and from the facility for tissue removal.
What is the time frame for tissue donation?
If the donation occurs in the Denver area, typically the tissue is removed on the following business day after death of the donor. The tissue removal usually takes 1-3 hours. Afterwards, the Tissue Bank Coordinator arranges the transport of remains to the funeral home of the family’s choice. The remains will arrive at the funeral home for personal arrangements 24-36 hours after death.
If the donation occurs out side the state of Colorado, the time of tissue donation will vary depending on the region the donor lives, the day the donor passes away, and the availability of a local pathologist. The time and location of the removal will be done at the discretion of the local pathologist, typically in the local hospital pathology department, or the procedure room at the funeral home and during the following business day. The remains will arrive at the funeral home for personal arrangements 24-72 hours after death.
Will Brain donation affect my funeral arrangements?
The research procedures are performed in the course of a routine autopsy and will not delay funeral arrangement or disfigure the deceased. The research procedure is done at no cost to the family.
My relative just died but was not signed up to be a donor with the Rocky Mountain MS Center Tissue Bank. Can I still donate their tissue?
Yes. At death donations will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Please contact the Tissue Donation Coordinator at 720-626-6060 as soon as possible after death, or preferably, when death becomes imminent.
What is the cost of tissue donation?
There is no cost to donate tissue. The Rocky Mountain MS Center Tissue Bank will pay for all arrangements regarding tissue removal and transport to and from the hospital/procedure room of the local pathologist, or transport to and from University Hospital for donations in the Denver area. The Tissue Bank does not pay for any funeral arrangements regarding the remains after tissue donation.
Will I be able to find out what specific purpose the donor’s tissue will be used for?
The Rocky Mountain MS Center Tissue Bank stores tissue fixed or frozen until samples are requested from a MS investigator. The most recent studies include neurological imaging for improvement of MS diagnosis and characterization of active and chronic lesions.
Will the Rocky Mountain MS Center pay for funeral arrangements such as cremation?
No. The Tissue Bank will pay for any charges accrued during the tissue removal and transport to a facility where the tissue is removed. After the removal, the next of kin is responsible for any funeral arrangements afterwards.
Will we be able to donate the entire body to the Rocky Mountain MS Center?
No. The Tissue Bank can only accept CNS tissue, the brain, spinal cord, optic nerve and cerebral spinal fluid. The remains after the removal of tissue harvest must be released to a funeral home or mortuary of the family’s choice.