Sequence of Events at the Time of Death

Brain tissue donation from patients is most valuable when:

  • a thorough neurological assessment is done by a movement disorder specialist regularly
  • a pedigree is drawn for families with two or more affected members,
  • a videotaped motor exam is obtained on several occasions, and
  • at least one complete memory evaluation has been done by a neuropsychologist

Pre-planning with the brain bank coordinator is always encouraged: call the coordinator at 212-305-5779 to learn more about how you and your family can make this donation.

Sequence of Events at the Time of Death

  1. The next of kin and/or family spokesperson [if there are several relatives] agrees to the idea of brain donation for diagnostic and research purposes.
  2. When a donor dies, anyone can call the 24 hour emergency pager, 929-244-9346. The person who responds will be the brain donation coordinator. We will ask the next of kin to give their verbal consent after the time of death by calling a 1-800 number and initiating a telegram consent that will be faxed to the pathology suite and the New York Brain Bank offices. The telegram consent is to be phoned in immediately.
  3. A death certificate must be completed and signed within hours of death by the physician of record, any doctor who knows the donor well and is nearby. Only then can the funeral home transport the body to the autopsy suite.
  4. The funeral home has been informed before death and is again notified within hours of death to transport the body to the designated pathology service.
  5. The pathology service or brain bank coordinator notifies Sterling Courier at 1-888-633-6666 an hour before pick-up. Our goal is to harvest fresh whole brain in the first 8-12 hours after death. For details about the New York Brain Bank for movement disorders, call 212-305-5779, check http://nybb.hs.columbia.edu. This program is open to people with movement disorders.