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Keywords:

  • gross anatomy education;
  • whole body donation;
  • anatomic bequest program, anatomical donor program;
  • willingness to donate body;
  • attitude to body donation;
  • cadaver;
  • medical education;
  • Greece

Abstract

Despite the importance of body donation for medical education and the advancement of medical science, cadaveric donation remains suboptimal worldwide. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the willingness of body donation in Greece and determine the characteristics of donors. This cross-sectional questionnaire survey was conducted from January to June 2011. A specially designed questionnaire was distributed to 1,700 individuals who were randomly selected from five major Greek cities. It was found that higher educational levels (P = 0.002), annual family income below 30,000 Euros (P = 0.001), guaranteed employment status (P = 0.02), and the presence of comorbid conditions (P = 0.004) seemed to affect potential donors' willingness for cadaveric donation. Those with strong religious beliefs were found to be unwilling to donate their bodies to medical science. Interestingly, the majority of participants who believed that hospitalized patients are deceived or are used for harmful experiments were willing to become whole body donors (P = 0.043). In Greece, the rate of body donation to medical science remains low, and most Greek citizens are not willing to become body donors. Efforts to encourage discussions about whole body donation should be implemented in order to improve current low levels of donation. Anat Sci Educ. © 2012 American Association of Anatomists.