Might thinking about death (before it happens) be helpful?

by Heena Modi on July 14, 2016

Why on earth did we start thinking about what happens after death when we’re so young?

Suraj and I have experienced a few losses over the last few years. They’ve all taught us different things, but one of them in particular made us question what we wanted after we died.

We realised that some had spoken about their wishes to their loved ones but hadn’t communicated it to all family members, and after they died, acting on what they wanted was hard for those left behind, because it wasn’t known to everyone who needed to know.

For others, they simply didn’t know what their parent, sibling, partner wanted. They were left feeling confused by the various suggestions/opinions of others.

When loved ones die, it’s stressful enough without having to worry about whether you’ve done the right thing or not!

We figured that if one of us died, we’d like it to be as smooth as possible for the other. We thought it would help if we created a document where we clearly expressed what we wanted.

What about my body?

I signed up for a donor card when I was in my teens, but I didn’t know that you could donate anything beyond that. I was recently made aware of the fact that we can donate the whole body to medical research. I had something new to consider.

Here’s what I found out through a little research

Organ Donation

I rang 0300 123 23 23 and confirmed that I’m registered for organ donation. I also found out that there are specific situations when the organs may not be suitable. They also may not be of any use at all if, for example, death occurs outside of a hospital.

But then what?

I want the body to be useful in some way after its become lifeless.

There’s another option, which involves the organs being used for research. In this scenario, the rest of the body would be returned to the family for them to bury or cremate.

Donating the whole body to science

I found a number to talk to someone about this here https://www.hta.gov.uk/make_an_enquiry

I learned that I can donate the whole body to medical research, but they won’t accept the body if the organs have been removed. Also, it wouldn’t be brought home if the whole body is donated.

Can we sign up for both?

Yes! You could register for both, body and organ donation. However, the medical school will only accept the body if it is whole, so it’s worth filling out a consent form or stating any preferences in a Will or some sort of document.

When donating the whole body, the recipient will need to have the body within 7 days or it will become unusable. They collect the body, and for this reason, the recipient must be one that’s the closest, as opposed to, for example, the hospital that the deceased had some sort of fondness for.

Here’s a helpful fact sheet by Dr. Hadwen Trust

Donating Your Body | help sheet by DHT by Heena R Modi on Scribd

This fact sheet has been provided by Dr. Hadwen Trust

Useful information

Contact details for medical schools by postcode
Body, Brain and Tissue Donation Pack

What will you register for?

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