European Journal of Anatomy

Official Journal of The Spanish Society of Anatomy
Cover Volume 20 - Number 1
Eur J Anat, 20 (1): 19-29 (2016)

Meet the donors: a qualitative analysis of what donation means to Danish whole body donors

Maria Olejaz, Klaus Hoeyer

University of Copenhagen, Department of Public Health, Section for Health Services Research

ABSTRACT For centuries, gross anatomy teaching and anatomical dissection have been fundamental elements in the training of medical doctors and surgeons across the world. Anatomy education and research rely on a stable and reliable supply of bodies in order to take place. Based on qualitative in-depth interviews with 13 whole body donors in Denmark, this article explores what donors think about donation and thus offers a supplement to previous primarily quantitative work on donor motivation. The article presents how interviewed donors relate to three topics: their body, their social relations and their societal relations. In doing so the article places the decision to donate as part and parcel of the way donors live their lives and sees donation as a meaningful act resonating with the experiences and values held by donors. The decision to donate is thus seen, not as the outcome of a set of defined motivations, but rather as something made meaningful in the light of how donors understand their bodies; their social relations; and their societal position and experiences as patients in the healthcare system. The article thus contributes to the field by investigating the nature of the relationship between donors, medical schools and society at large

Keywords: Body donation, Willed donor, Donor programme, Motivation, Dissection, Anatomy education, Qualitative research

European Journal of anatomy
ISSN 2340-311X (Online)