Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I wondered what happens after death

I have often wondered what happens to people's pacemakers after they die. I have been told they are given to dogs or to developing countries. You can be buried with you pacemaker but if you are being cremated it must be removed - unless you wanted to take your family with you. I often looks at the pacemaker club website. I can often give advice or support to pacing newbies. Especially those who are younger feel they are the only one. Today when I looked at the site there was a piece of research talking about pacemaker life after death.

They interviews a 100 morticians (which if we are being critical is quite a small sample) and these are the results of what they do with removed pacemakers.

44% Threw the device away as medical waste
18% Donate for human use in developing countries
10% Return them to next of kin
8% Store them in the mortuary
4% Return them to manufacturer
4% Return them to hospital where patient died
3% Donate to veterinary school for implantation into animals
24% Did not know

The research suggests you have a 'device living will' and that the pacemaker should be removed and returned to the manufacture for analysis. I do not feel I need a device living will (bit to American). So I am announcing publicly that I want my pacemaker donated to a developing country or returned to my next of kin to be added to my collection. I already have 3 of my old pacemakers,imagine how many I will have by the time I die. It could be worked in to a great piece of art!


mum said...

This is very morbid.

The World Tour 2007 said...

Hev - it seems slightly odd to me that you only want your last pacemaker to be given to developing countries. Why haven't you donated your other 3 already, so you can actually help other people whilst you still alive.

You can always write a will stating where you want to donate bits of your body in the event of your death.

I'm writing my will at the moment x

Hev said...

Because they take the old pacemakers out whan the batteries are flat. They would not be much use to anybody else.

Joseph said...

Morbid? Yep, that's your daughter...

Ann said...

Before I even looked at the comments, I thought, Oh dear, Mum won't like this!

But moving on, why is the Living Will American? Do you not have Medical Powers of Attorney, or Advance Directives, in Britain?

Hev said...

Living will's are avalible in the UK but not common. I think living wills in general are a good idea. So often at work we are asking relatives what their mother/father would want. Would they want surgary? Would they want to be resusitated? etc. It would be better for medical staff and patients if more people did have them.

However I do feel a device living will is taking the whole thing a little too far. That is what I see as being american. It is hard enough to get british people to think about what they want to happend to them, let alone any devices left inside them.

Ann said...

Interesting. Yes, I agree a Living Will for a device would be a little much!

Over here, hospitals require a patient to have signed Advance Directives before being admitted. And many physicians routinely ask their patients, during office visits, if they have one.

Though it probably came out of our lawsuit-crazy culture, I think it's a pretty good idea. Having worked in nursing homes, I saw lots of examples of how I didn't want to "live."

Josephine said...

Hi, there is a charity in Detroit, called World Medical Relief that accept pace makers with good battery life and distributes them to cardiologist in developing nations.
Please contact info@worldmedicalrelief.org for more information.