Disposition of body of indigent or child in custody of Department of Human Services
(1) Except as set forth in subsection (4) of this section, any licensed funeral service practitioner having charge of the body of a deceased person thought to be an unclaimed indigent shall use all reasonable diligence promptly to notify the relatives of the deceased person or any other person having an interest in the deceased person and shall arrange with any relative who claims the body or with any friend of the deceased person who will pay the expenses to make disposition of the body. If no one claims the body within five days after death, or if those notified acquiesce, the funeral service practitioner shall notify, by telephone, the Demonstrator of Anatomy of the Oregon Health and Science University. The Demonstrator of Anatomy, who shall be appointed by the Oregon Health and Science University Board of Directors from the staff of the Oregon Health and Science University, shall immediately inform the funeral service practitioner whether the body is deemed to be in fit condition and is desired for medical instruction or the advancement of medical science. If the body is desired for these purposes, the funeral service practitioner shall arrange for a licensed embalmer to make such preparation as is necessary and shall, within 72 hours, deliver it to the Oregon Health and Science University, or any other school or college within the State of Oregon qualifying applicants for examination in the fundamental sciences as required and specified in ORS 683.010 (Definitions for ORS 683.010 to 683.310) to 683.335 (Report of suspected violation) and ORS chapters 676 to 681 and 684 to 686, as the Demonstrator of Anatomy directs. The expenses of embalming, transportation of the body to such school or college, filing fees and other related expenses shall be paid from the funds appropriated specifically for the purposes of this section. Such expenses shall not exceed the normal rates charged for such services to the general public.
(2) If the Demonstrator of Anatomy does not require any such body for instruction or research, it may be assigned, on request, to any other properly authorized institution within this state or to any qualified physician for instruction or research.
(3) When the body of a deceased person is deemed in unfit condition by the Demonstrator of Anatomy and disposition does not take place as set forth in subsections (1) and (2) of this section, and no relatives, friends or interested persons claim the body after notification is attempted, then the funeral service practitioner may commence to cremate or bury the body without the consent of persons listed in ORS 97.130 (Right to control disposition of remains) and is furthermore indemnified from any liability arising from having made such disposition. The method of disposition must be in the least costly manner that complies with law, and that does not conflict with known wishes of the deceased. Reimbursement for costs of disposition shall be made as set forth in subsection (5) of this section.
(4) When the deceased person is a child over whom the Department of Human Services held guardianship at the time of death, and no relatives, friends or interested persons claim the body after notification is attempted as set forth in subsection (1) of this section, the department may at its discretion notify the Demonstrator of Anatomy and proceed as set forth in subsection (1) of this section, or may authorize burial or cremation of the body. Expenses related to burial or cremation authorized by the department under this subsection shall be borne by the department.
(5) Upon receipt of an itemized statement of expenses, the department shall reimburse the funeral service practitioner within 30 days the reasonable costs for disposition of any unclaimed deceased person who has insufficient assets and for whom no one takes responsibility. The method of disposition must be in the least costly manner and shall not exceed $450 per disposition. [Amended by 1973 c.842 §1; 1985 c.704 §1; 1993 c.345 §4; 1995 c.162 §62]
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