Are You Properly Vetting Your Tissue Bank for Safety and Quality Control?
It was Labor Day many decades ago when Jimmy and Mary Ann fell in love. As many couples do when they age, they made a decision as to how they wanted to handle their end of life arrangements. Jimmy and Mary Ann decided they would donate their bodies to researchers in an effort to “study disease, develop treatments and perfect surgical techniques”. One caveat to this was, they insisted that “whatever was left would be cremated and returned to the remaining spouse”. Sadly, Mary Ann passed away first in 2009, leaving Jimmy with the task of executing their plan.
Fast forward a couple of years to a top news story in Jimmy’s home state which shows investigators in hazmat suits removing body bags from a local tissue bank. This local tissue bank is the non-transplant body donation program Jimmy and Mary Ann had chosen when deciding to gift their bodies to science. And this is not the only such instance of reported trouble between some “less than reputable” tissue banks and the authorities.
All of this raises the questions of “How”? How do you know if you are working with a reputable tissue source? How do you know if tissue was handled according to the standards you would want to see if Jimmy and Mary Ann were your parents, grandparents or friends? Would you want your organization to be associated with a tissue bank that cuts corners and compromises safety and quality?
Here are some questions you need to ask of your tissue bank:
- Are specimens being tested and screened for infectious viruses such as HIV and Hepatitis B & C?
- Is your tissue bank accredited by the American Association of Tissue Banks or similar international entity?
- Does the tissue bank allow on-site audits?
- Is tissue being packaged in a safe and secure manner so as not to expose risks to anyone handling the shipment?
- Is their staff properly trained in handling human tissue and blood borne pathogens?
- Can the tissue bank demonstrate 100% traceability by tissue specimen?
- Who does the tissue bank use for logistics to ensure safe delivery?
- Does the tissue bank have credible references that you can contact?
- Does the tissue bank have a good reputation throughout the industry?
- Are donor’s being procured contrary to the will of the deceased and/or their families?
- Are donor authorization forms and processes robust?
- Are donors being treated with dignity and respect?
Simply put, Science Care sets the industry standard for whole body donation that families have come to trust. Our commitment to the highest level of ethics and quality of excellence affirms our integrity and dedication to do what’s best for our donors, donor’s families and our community. As the industry leader, we focus on four key areas: safety, consistency, staffing and availability. Our donors know that their last act is a selfless act of giving to improve the welfare of humankind, and that gift provides hope for future generations.