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The Human Tissue Act
This is an unofficial archived version of The Human Tissue Act
as enacted by SM 1987-88, c. 9 on July 17, 1987.
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R.S.M. 1987, c. H180

The Human Tissue Act

HER MAJESTY, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, enacts as follows:

Definition.

1

In this Act "person lawfully in possession of the body" does not include

(a) a medical examiner in possession of a body for the purpose of investigation; or

(b) an embalmer or funeral director in possession of a body for the purpose of its burial, cremation, or other disposal.

Direction by person before death.

2(1)

A person 18 years of age or over may

(a) in writing at any time; or

(b) orally in the presence of at least two witnesses during his last illness;

direct that any part of his body or a specified part of his body may be used after his death for therapeutic purposes or for purposes of medical education or for purposes of medical research.

Effect of direction.

2(2)

Upon the death of a person who has given a direction under subsection (1), the direction is full authority for obtaining possession of the body and the removal and use of any part of his body or the specified part of his body, as the case may be, for the purposes specified in the direction, except that a person

(a) shall not act upon a direction if he has reason to believe that the person who gave the direction subsequently withdrew it; and

(b) shall not, except with the consent of a medical examiner or chief medical examiner appointed under The Fatality Inquiries Act, act upon a direction if he has reason to believe that an inquest may be required to be held upon the body.

Effect of direction given by person under 18.

2(3)

A direction given under subsection (1) by a person under 18 years of age is valid for the purposes of this section if the person who acted upon it had no reason to believe that the person who gave the direction was under 18 years of age at the time he gave it.

Direction by next of kin.

3(1)

Where a person other than a person who has made a direction under section 2 dies,

(a) his spouse; or

(b) if none, any one of his children 18 years of age or over; or

(c) if none, either of his parents; or

(d) if none, any one of his brothers or sisters 18 years of age or over; or

(e) if none, the person lawfully in possession of the body or the Inspector of Anatomy appointed under The Anatomy Act;

may direct that any part of the body or any specified part of the body may be used for therapeutic purposes or for purposes of medical education or for purposes of medical research.

Direction where death imminent and inevitable.

3(2)

Where a person other than a person who has made a direction under section 2 is, in the opinion of a duly qualified medical practitioner, incapable of making such a request and his death is considered by the duly qualified medical practitioner to be imminent,

(a) his spouse; or

(b) if none, any of his children 18 years of age or over; or

(c) if none, either of his parents; or

(d) if none, any one of his brothers or sisters 18 years of age or over;

may direct that any part of the body or any specified part of the body may be used for therapeutic purposes or for purposes of medical education or for purposes of medical research.

Effect of direction.

3(3)

Upon the death of a person in respect of whom a direction is given under this section, the direction is full authority for obtaining possession of the body and the removal and use of any part of the body or of the specified part of the body, as the case may be, for the purposes specified in the direction, except that a person

(a) shall not act upon the direction if he has actual knowledge that another member of the same class of persons as the person who gave the direction objects thereto;

(b) shall not act upon the direction if he has reason to believe that the deceased person would, if living, have objected thereto; and

(c) shall not, except with the consent of the medical examiner or chief medical examiner appointed under The Fatality Inquiries Act, act upon a direction if he has reason to believe that an inquiry or investigation may be required to be held respecting the cause and manner of death.

Where parts of body not required.

4(1)

Where a direction has been given under this Act for the removal and use of any part of a body or of a specified part of a body for therapeutic purposes or for purposes of medical education or for purposes of medical research, and at the time of or immediately after the death there is no known request for parts of the body, or the specified part of the body, as the case may be. for the purposes set out in the direction, the body shall be dealt with as though no direction under this Act had been given.

Disposal of body after removal of part.

4(2)

Where, after death, a part of a body has been removed in accordance with this Act, forthwith after the removal of the part, the body shall be returned to the custody and control of the person who would have had custody and control of the body if no direction had been made under this Act.

Lawful dealings not affected.

5

Nothing in this Act makes unlawful any dealing with a body of a deceased person or a part thereof that would be lawful if this Act had not been passed.

Removal of pituitary gland.

6(1)

Notwithstanding that no direction has been given under this or any other Act of the Legislature with respect to the use of the body after death or the removal of parts from the body after death, any person performing a post mortem examination of a body may, without incurring any liability therefor, remove the pituitary gland from the body and cause it to be delivered to any person or agency designated by the Inspector of Anatomy appointed under The Anatomy Act for use in the treatment of persons having a growth hormone deficiency.

Where section does not apply.

6(2)

This section does not apply where the person performing the post mortem examination of the body has reason to believe

(a) that the deceased would, if living, have objected to the removal of the pituitary gland for use in the treatment of persons having a growth hormone deficiency; or

(b) that

(i) the surviving spouse of the deceased, or

(ii) if none, any of his children 18 years of age or over, or

(iii) if none, either of his parents, or

(iv) if none, any of his brothers or sisters 18 years of age or over, objects to the removal of the pituitary gland for use in the treatment of persons having a growth hormone deficiency.