Monday, June 11, 2012
Funeral Home Pacemakers: Recycled Gifts from the Dead (Research, Surgery Video 1:51)
When people think of gifts from the dead, they often think of organ donations that usually don’t reach poor patients in developing countries. But funeral homes have become involved with donating reused, permanent pacemakers for saving lives. A pacemaker device can be reimplanted to adjust an abnormally low heart rate to meet the body's needs during exercise or rest. Implantation of a pacemaker, generally in a pocket of skin in the shoulder area, typically can be done with local anesthetics and a sedative and include relatively quick recovery.
Pacemaker researchers at the University of Texas-Health Science Center studied 121 indigent patients in Mumbai, India at a charity hospital. All patients survived the pacemaker operations with no significant complications resulting from the surgery. Those employed were able to return to work and continue household chores. As a result of these gifts from the dead, poor patients in developing countries are able to improve their quality of life.
In the following video, Dr. Joseph Reilly, a board certified cardiologist and electrophysiologist, explains pacemaker implantation surgery:
Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback at many booksellers and in e-book form at Amazon and Barnes and Noble booksellers.