Dealing with a death, both physically and emotionally, is one of our society’s greatest struggles. In our society, the ways in which people physically deal with dead bodies include harvesting the organs for science and disposing the bodies. While there is no single right way to care for dead bodies, there are limits to ensure respect for the wishes of the deceased and the bereaved. Governments have created laws to guarantee that there is no harm towards society; thus, the process of dealing with the dead must not cause harm to anyone.
Every state has regulations over organ donation and the disposal of remains, although much of it stays consistent federally. Nebraska laws specify how to sign up for the donation registry, the process of organ donation, and conditions for donating organs. Along with organ donation laws, there are regulations for the ways to dispose of remains. Whether dealing with cremation or burials, people must follow specific rules in order to dispose of the body.
Organ donation has become popular in the United States, as it helps thousands of people who need tissues and organs to survive. Recently, more people have made the choice to become an organ donor. Regarding organ donation laws, people must follow the process. First, they must become a donor to be part of the donor registry. To become a donor, one can register online at the Nebraska Organ System website, through mail, or in person at the local Department of Motor Vehicles (“Organ Donation in Nebraska”). If someone registers in person, a symbol will appear on the donor’s driver’s license, showing that they have registered. This is likely the easiest way to see if someone is a donor at the time of death since the driver’s license is readily available.
After someone has registered to be a donor, they have a guarantee that doctors will harvest their organs after they have died (“Organ Donation in Nebraska”). The First Person Consent law goes for adults, meaning that nobody can overrule their decision (“FAQs: Know Fact from Fiction”). However, there are exceptions. Minors, who cannot legally be donors, can have their organs donated by the consent of their parents. For adults who are not donors, others may decide for them, such as their health care provider (Irving).
Once the person is deceased, the hospital will call Nebraska Organ Recovery System, who will come to retrieve the organs and harvest them (“Organ Donation in Nebraska”). First, they will determine which organs can be donated, since there are cases where organs are too damaged to be recovered. There is also a brief period of time after death that the organs can still be recovered. After determining the suitable organs, the hospital will recover the organs and transport them to the Nebraska Organ Recovery System (“For the Public: FAQ”).
While organ donation typically refers to harvesting organs after death, it is also relevant to consider the option of becoming a living organ donor. The available organs are limited with this predicament. It is, however, possible to donate “a kidney or part of the liver or lung.” Because certain medical conditions prevent organ harvesting, there are conditions in which someone can donate their organs. For the most part, anyone can become a donor, regardless of medical conditions (“FAQs: Know Fact from Fiction”), with the exception of HIV/AIDS (“For the Public: FAQ”).
Additionally, there is the option to specify whom the organs will reach – also known as direct donations. Someone must specify the organs at the time of donation, but they can only specify a single individual and not particular groups of people. As a donor, one does not consent to having their entire body donated, as organ donation only includes the major tissues and organs. If someone were to sign up for the anatomical gift program, they could donate their body to science (“FAQs: Know Fact from Fiction”).
Another component of dealing with death is dealing with the body of the deceased. First, there needs to be a death certificate, as a death certificate certifies that the person is officially dead. The funeral director is in charge of completing the death certificate, and it is beneficial for the bereaved to have copies of it for several reasons. Nebraska allows the refrigeration and embalming of bodies, and the former is more common. People are required to embalm the body under certain circumstances, such as if the death were a result of an easily transmittable disease.
Laws regarding caskets are also important to consider. There is no law that requires there to be a casket for a cremation or burial, although cemeteries may have their own regulations for caskets. People can also buy caskets from other sources, and funeral homes can accept them. People can bury bodies in cemeteries, and burying them on private property might be possible. Furthermore, people can keep or scatter ashes anywhere, so long as they do not invade anyone’s privacy or cause harm to others. Scattering ashes have certain conditions, especially when it comes to federal property. In these cases, people will usually obtain permission before scattering the ashes (Irving).
In conclusion, people should follow laws in order to guarantee a safe and respectful experience for all the people involved. In order to follow the laws, one must know and understand them. Because regulations differ nationwide, it is always important to research the specific laws for each state. Organ donation is crucial to our society as more people need organs and tissues daily. Therefore, it is essential for everyone to become an organ donor, if possible, to help those who desperately need the organs. Disposing of remains properly is also necessary to know. People should always have common courtesy – know what is appropriate and proceed accordingly. When we can understand the rules for organ donation and disposal of remains, we can better prepare for the deaths of loved ones and ourselves.