Introduction, 'After We Die: The Life and Times of the Human Cadaver'
Norman L. Cantor
Rutgers University School of Law
November 1, 2010
AFTER WE DIE: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE HUMAN CADAVER, Introduction, Washington, D.C., Georgetown University Press, 2010
Rutgers School of Law-Newark Research Paper No. 085
This new book presents more than you thought you wanted to know about the handling of human remains. After We Die (AWD) not only chronicles a cadaver's physical state during various forms of disposal, it also discusses a cadaver's legal and moral status.
AWD details who controls the fate of human remains and the applicable legal bounds. Control of a cadaver is explored with regard not only to mode and place of disposition of remains, but also to use of cadaveric body parts in education, research, tissue transplant, and procreation. AWD ascribes enforceable rights to the insentient cadaver, not just to survivors reacting to what is happening to a corpse. One such right is to have a decedent's prior choices upheld; AWD urges advance planning toward enhancing the impact of a life via productive cadaver roles in medical education, research, and tissue transplant. AWD also discusses proposals for increasing cadaveric organ supplies, including a presumed consent regime.
As to moral standing of cadavers, AWD analyzes the quasi-human status attributed to remains and the protections therefore accorded to cadavers. The book reflects on the limits that post-mortem human dignity poses on disposal choices by either a decedent or an agent entitled to make final dispositions. Is it intrinsically disrespectful to exploit human remains in public educational displays, in artistic settings, or for utilitarian purposes as in furniture or clothes?
This posting to SSRN provides the Introduction to AWD.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 11
Keywords: Death & Dying, Cadavers
Date posted: November 18, 2010