Willed Body Program

COVID-19 Update

At this time, the University of Louisville Willed Body Program is not accepting donations of decedents who have tested positive or under investigation for COVID-19.  We will keep our website up-to-date with any new information as we learn more about the virus.  Thank you for your interest in our program.

To register with our program

The Willed Body Program is not accepting new enrollees at this time. Those donors already enrolled in the program will be accepted at time of death at any time if the donors meet the requirements at time of death. (Please see below under 'when death occurs' for further explanation).  If you live in Jefferson county KY or Floyd or Clark counties IN, you may join our wait list by calling 502-852-5744.

1.    Complete all pages of the application forms accurately and return them to the Willed Body Program office. It is necessary to have these forms notarized, to be signed by disinterested witnesses, and to be fully completed. We recommend that you keep a copy for your personal files and additional copies for next-of-kin. Please be aware that this paperwork is not a binding or legal agreement, only a statement of wish or intent.

2.    It is very important that you keep us informed of any change in name, address, or your next of kin so that we may keep your file current. If you are admitted into a hospital, move to a retirement community or nursing home, or specialized care facility, a copy of your forms and instructions should be included in your chart or care plan.

3.    When the forms have been received and approved, we will mail a letter of acceptance with a donor wallet card. Our acceptance of the enrollment forms, does not guarantee acceptance of a body at time of death. It is recommended that an alternative plan be developed by the donor and family in the event we are unable to accept the body at the time of death (please see FAQs for ineligibility to participate).

4.    Discuss your wishes with your loved ones to ensure that your desire to be a whole body donor is carried out at the time of your death.

When death occurs

1.    If the death occurs at home, please call 9-1-1. A healthcare professional (examples: hospice care staff or coroner) will need to sign a provisional report of death before the body can be transported to the university.

2.    To report a death during business hours (M-F, 8 am – 5 pm), please call (502)-852-5744.
To report a death after hours (after 5 pm on weekdays, weekends, and University holidays), please call (502)-303-1471.

3.    At time of death, the individual making the death notification call will be required to provide information to the Program to determine eligibility to donate. Registration with the Program does not guarantee acceptance into the Program at time of death.  The Program is unable to accept a donation for the following reasons:

a. Capacity restraints of the Program;
b. Any infectious disease including, but not limited to: HIV, tuberculosis, hepatitis, MRSA, VRE, Clostridium difficile (C. diff), ESBL-producing organism, flesh-eating disease, West Nile virus, COVID-19, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (or other prion disease);
c. Obesity (BMI > 33);
d. History of illegal injectable drug use;
e. Blood transfusion within 48 hours of death;
f. Jaundice;
g. Contractures of the limbs;
h. Recent surgical procedures or open lesions;
i. Time of death occurred more than 12 hours ago or at undetermined time;
j. Violent or traumatic death;
k. Victim of suicide or homicide;
l. Autopsy has occurred or will occur;
m. Vital organs removed for transplantation purposes; or
n. Other circumstances or conditions, as reasonably determined in the sole discretion of the Program.

We strongly encourage you to develop alternative plans in the event we are unable to accept the donation at time of death.

4.    The Willed Body Program, along with the medical certifier, will file the death-related paperwork.  The Program will send further information at the time of death to the next-of-kin on procedures regarding the death certificate and social security. Additionally, transportation charges may be sent to the next-of-kin (please see FAQs).

5.    The next-of-kin will receive an invitation to our annual Convocation of Thanks ceremony in late winter/early spring. This ceremony is held in the spring of each year to honor those individuals who bequeathed their bodies during the previous calendar year (for instance, the ceremony in the spring of 2019 was held for those donors whose bodies arrived at UofL during 2018).  We are currently waiting to schedule the 2020 Convocation of Thanks in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rebecca Barker, LE, LFD
Troy Nukes, LE, LFD
Nicole Herring, PhD

Email:  willbody@louisville.edu