Skip to Content

Site Menu

Zucker School of Medicine - Home

Resources & Search

Zucker School of Medicine - Home
Menu Icon


Academic Success

Policy on Cadaver Donation


To provide guidance for handling inquiries about donating a body after death to a medical school for education or research purposes.


All people wishing to donate a body after death for the purpose of medical education or research shall first be referred to the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell.  A list of other regional medical schools accepting anatomic gifts will be provided upon request.


This policy applies to faculty and students of the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell ("School of Medicine") conducting work or research on behalf of the School of Medicine at any Northwell Health facility as well as all members of the Northwell Health workforce including, but not limited to, employees, medical staff, volunteers, students, physician office staff, and other persons performing work for or conducting research at or on behalf of Northwell Health.


For purposes of this policy, the term "body" is a human cadaver and includes a fetus at any gestational age, and the term "responsible staff member" refers to an attending or resident physician (MD or DO), Physician's Assistant (PA), Nurse Practitioner (NP), or Registered Nurse (RN) who was involved in a patient's care while that patient was treated within a Northwell Health facility.


In accordance with the National Organ Transplantation Act and the laws of New York State and New York City, a body can be donated but cannot be sold. A donated body must be received by the accepting medical school within 24 hours of death, and any planned religious services, body viewings, or wakes must be completed in time to comply with this timeframe for receipt of the body. A medical school requires intact bodies and therefore will not accept a body that has been embalmed or autopsied or from which organs other than eyes have been removed.
Northwell Health facilities do not accept bodies for donation, and their staff members have no responsibility beyond providing contact information to those individuals inquiring about donating a body to a medical school. The making and handling of all arrangements between an individual donating a body to a medical school and the medical school are the responsibility of the individual. The individual must inform the Admitting/Patient Access Services Department of the Northwell Health facility in which the body is being held where the body is to be donated.
Competent persons at least 18 years of age can arrange to donate their bodies after death. A body may also be donated after death by the next of kin or other legally designated party as set forth in New York State Code - Section 4301:

  1. Decedent's Agent for disposition of remains (Burial Agent).
  2. Decedent's Spouse, if not legally separated, or domestic partner.
  3. Adult Children (18 years or old).
  4. Either Parent of the decedent.
  5. Adult Siblings (18 years or older).
  6. Decedent's Guardian at the time of the decedent's death.
  7. Any other person authorized or under the obligation to dispose of the decedent's body.

When a body is being donated, a responsible staff member must complete a death certificate. Upon receipt of all appropriate documentation, the Northwell Health facility will release the body directly to the School of Medicine through a funeral director associated with said school. The School of Medicine is financially responsible for removal of the body from the Northwell Health System facility and the transportation of the body to the School of Medicine. The School of Medicine is also financially responsible for obtaining all necessary permits. Transportation expenses not paid for by the School of Medicine are the responsibility of the individual initiating the body donation process.

System Administrative Policy #700.03-Organ and Tissue Donation
System Administrative Policy #100.13-Patient Expirations (Medical Examiner Notification Criteria and Request for Autopsies)
Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell Brochure - The Whole Body Anatomical Gift Program (
National Organ Transplantation Act
New York State Code 4031


Last Updated: Septemeber 2017

contact us