It is not unusual for American Indian patients to request any removed body tissues be returned to them after surgery. This includes hair, nail clippings, tonsils, organs surgically removed (appendix, gallbladder, etc.), and often, amputated limbs or digits (Alvord, 1999).

Some American Indian communities believe that the body must be whole in order to “cross over” into the next world, and some believe that body products could be used to cause the individual or his family harm if they are used in casting spells (e.g., Navajo) (Levy, Neutra & Parker, 1987).