University of Tasmania

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How are Images of Donated Cadaveric Tissue Governed? An Examination of Australian and New Zealand Legislation

conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-24, 13:18 authored by Cornwall, J, Jamie ChapmanJamie Chapman, Webb, A, Wee, R, Zimanyi, M

Introduction: Whole body donation is a popular method of tissue acquisition for many medical schools around the world. With the increasing use of the internet and smart devices in education and research, the use of images of cadaveric tissue has become an important subject for anatomy departments, research institutions and hospitals to consider. It is important the law is examined in this context so congruence is maintained in terms of best practice, ethical standard and legal obligation, while maintaining respect for the wishes and rights of body donors.

Methods: Legislation relating to the potential use of cadaveric images in anatomy in New Zealand and Australia (six states, two territories) was reviewed. This included relevant anatomy, transplant, human tissue, and privacy statutes.

Results: Individual statutes relating to donated cadavers do not mention the use of images arising from cadavers. Privacy Acts cover use of identifiable images only, and do not effectively provide rights to protect the interest of deceased donors as complaints must be made by the person in question. There is no explicit requirement for schools of anatomy to obtain informed consent for the specific use of images from body donors.

Conclusion: In Australasia, current legislation provides little protection for body donors in relation to the acquisition and use of images taken of cadaveric tissue. Current privacy law cannot be said to provide adequate protection in terms of procedural safeguards, including enforcement mechanisms, as it is impossible for cadavers to lay complaints. Suggestions are made in relation to strengthening informed consent processes and including additional protection clauses for donors under the relevant legislation relating to body donation.



Tasmanian School of Medicine

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Australasian Biospecimen Network Association Conference

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Christchurch, New Zealand

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