4/10/2014 6:02:00 AM Wanted: Dead bodies, in the name of science Human remains company seeking more Mohave County donors
United Tissue Network, a nonprofit company that started in 2009 and has another office in Norman, Okla., accepts dead bodies that meet its guidelines and cuts them up so the various sections can be sent to schools that train orthopedic surgeons, paramedics, dentists, cardiologists, optometrists and massage therapists. For more information, go to www.unitedtissue.org or call (877) 738-6111.
KINGMAN - An FBI and state raid in January of a whole-body donation center in Phoenix didn't put a damper on local interest Tuesday in signing up with another whole-body donation business.
About 20 residents showed up for a presentation by United Tissue Network of Phoenix to find out how to donate their bodies to science - and what happens afterward.
UTN is not affiliated with Biological Resource Center, which the FBI and state's Attorney General's Office closed down earlier this year pending the results of an undisclosed investigation.
"We know there are things going on with Biological Resource Center, but just because there may be one bad guy out there doesn't make us all bad guys," said Kayla Hrabak, communications manager for UTN.
"There are no laws governing whole-body donation, just regulations and ethics. So we're trying to be proactive until that happens. We hope that one day there will be laws so there are no bad players."
The need for human tissue is great, said Hrabak, and medical professionals rely on body donations to improve patient outcomes.
Those include quicker patient recovery times, minimal scarring, heightened range of motion, added longevity for implanted medical devices and less time needed for physical therapy.
One donated body can be used for up to seven studies, Hrabak said.
"When people donate their bodies, they do it because they want to help others," said Hrabak. "So we do our best to give the parts to as many places as we can. And we don't just want perfect bodies in perfect health, because that's not reality.
"We have doctors who ask for bodies with cancer or diabetes or other illnesses so they can see how they've been affected and try to fix these situations."
While UTN has accepted bodies from Mohave County for years, the company is trying to make better inroads into the area and partner with local funeral homes, especially since Biological Resource Center is not currently taking new bodies or those previously signed up.
There is only one funeral home in Bullhead City that handles UTN bodies from Mohave County.
UTN uses bodies only for medical purposes, said Hrabak, and not as crash test dummies or cadavers for police dogs.
The company covers the cost of shipping bodies from the place of death anywhere in the continental U.S. to either Arizona or Oklahoma.
UTN also pays for their cremation and the return of the cremains to families, as well as for two certified death certificates. The medical facilities pay for the body parts to be shipped to them.
The only bodies not accepted are those with HIV I and II and Hepatitis A and B. Also, a participant's wish to donate organs through various organizations takes first priority when UTN receives the body, if the organs are viable and can be harvested.