Health and Safety

Regulatory Provisions Concerning Public Health

CHAPTER 27. Anatomical Gifts and Studies

Subchapter I. Anatomical Studies

§ 2701. Registration of approved institutions and persons.

Any nonprofit hospital, accredited university or research institution and teachers, students, research workers and technicians in this State conducting anatomical studies accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting body approved by the Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline desiring to obtain dead bodies for the purpose of anatomical studies shall register with the Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline on such forms as may be prescribed by the Board and for the purpose of this subchapter such a registered hospital, university or research institution shall be known as an approved institution, and any registered teacher, student, research worker or technician shall be known as an approved person, and the Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline shall have the right to refuse registration of such hospital, accredited university or research institution or such persons.

24 Del. C. 1953, §  1771;  54 Del. Laws, c. 28163 Del. Laws, c. 4, §  165 Del. Laws, c. 487, §  277 Del. Laws, c. 319, §  1

§ 2702. Duties of public officers.

Every public officer of this State or of any agency, county or political subdivision thereof, who shall have or receive custody or control of the body of any decedent, other than a dead body on which an autopsy has been performed pursuant to § 4707 of Title 29, and which body is not claimed within a reasonable time by a surviving spouse or relative of the decedent but not less than 120 hours following the death of the decedent, and which body will require burial at the expense of the State or of any agency, county or political subdivision thereof, shall forthwith notify the Medical Council of the existence and location of the dead body and of any identification thereof.

24 Del. C. 1953, §  1772;  54 Del. Laws, c. 28165 Del. Laws, c. 487, §  2

§ 2703. Designation of recipient approved institution.

(a) The Medical Council shall promptly, upon receipt of notice of the existence, location and identification of a dead body pursuant to § 2702 of this title, designate 1 of the approved institutions to receive such body for use, including dissection, in connection with anatomical studies conducted by approved persons and shall notify the approved institutions of its designation and shall notify the officer having custody of the body thereof, and the officer shall promptly deliver the body to the approved institution so designated upon payment by the hospital or research institution of the cost of embalming said body and any necessary transportation and storage costs involved.

(b) Each approved institution to which a dead body has been assigned for anatomical studies shall maintain said body in an embalmed condition, shall at all times ensure its proper and safe custody in an approved place of dissection, shall permit only approved persons to have access to such a body and shall identify all parts dissected free from the body with the same serial number assigned to the body by the Medical Council.

24 Del. C. 1953, §  1773;  54 Del. Laws, c. 28165 Del. Laws, c. 487, §  2

§ 2704. Disposition of remains.

Any approved institution which shall have received a dead body pursuant to this subchapter shall, upon completion of the study thereof, deliver the body as then constituted to the Division of Forensic Science for burial or cremation, and such approved institution shall pay the expenses of such burial or cremation and of the preparation of such body therefor, at the rates provided by law or which are usual and customary in such cases, provided that with the approval of the Inspector of Anatomy mentioned in § 2706 of this title, such an approved institution may retain certain portions of said body for special research or teaching purposes.

24 Del. C. 1953, §  1774;  54 Del. Laws, c. 28165 Del. Laws, c. 487, §  284 Del. Laws, c. 117, § 14

§ 2705. Powers and duties of Medical Council.

The Medical Council shall in the performance of its duties pursuant to this subchapter:

(1) Establish such reasonable regulations as may be necessary;

(2) Maintain complete records;

(3) Maintain a registry of approved institutions and persons pursuant to § 2701 of this title;

(4) Allocate unclaimed dead bodies to each of the approved institutions according to the number of approved persons and the character of anatomical studies conducted at such approved institutions.

24 Del. C. 1953, §  1775;  54 Del. Laws, c. 28165 Del. Laws, c. 487, §  2

§ 2706. Appointment of an Inspector of Anatomy.

The Attorney General, in consultation with the Medical Council, shall, on such conditions as the Attorney General may deem fit, appoint as an Inspector of Anatomy, a medical practitioner or a person with a special training or experience in medicolegal matters, and the duties of such Inspector shall be to: (i) Enter and inspect periodically any or all approved institutions where dissection of dead bodies may be in progress and examine any body or record or thing relating to the use of such dead bodies; (ii) report to the Medical Council and the Attorney General any unsatisfactory condition relating to the custody, use or disposal of dead bodies at such institutions or any other place where they may be located; (iii) investigate the alleged misconduct of any authorized or unauthorized person who has access to dead bodies; and, for the purpose of this subchapter, any person who obstructs the Inspector of Anatomy in the performance of the Inspector’s duties shall be punishable by a fine not exceeding $100.

24 Del. C. 1953, §  1776;  54 Del. Laws, c. 28165 Del. Laws, c. 487, §  270 Del. Laws, c. 186, §  1

§ 2707. Postmortem examination only by physicians; liability; consent.

(a) No postmortem examination of the body of a deceased person shall be conducted by any person other than a duly licensed doctor of medicine or osteopathy. Written or telegraphic consent for a doctor of medicine or osteopathy to conduct a postmortem examination of the body of the deceased person shall be deemed sufficient when given by whichever 1 of the following assumes custody of the body for the purpose of burial: Father, mother, husband, wife, child, guardian, next of kin or, in absence of any of the foregoing, a person who assumes the duty of legal disposal of the body. If 2 or more such persons assume custody of the body, consent of 1 of them who is legally considered as the next of kin shall be deemed sufficient.

(b) The licensed physician conducting the postmortem examination shall not be liable in damages for any action taken in making such postmortem examination.

24 Del. C. 1953, §  1777;  56 Del. Laws, c. 429, §  265 Del. Laws, c. 487, §  2