Whether to be an organ donor or not is a personal decision that everyone has to consider. But when a loved one passes away and is due to be cremated, you may be asked if you want another type of donation to take place. You might have to make this decision as it's possible that your loved one never even thought about it. But what does all this mean, and how does it relate to cremation?
Amounts of Metal
Before cremation, it must be determined if the person's remains contain any significant amounts of metal. Smaller pieces (which can be found in dental implants and fillings) aren't an issue. These are in fact removed from cremated remains with a magnet. Larger pieces of metal must be accounted for before cremation takes place.
Prior to Cremation
If your loved one had titanium joint replacements or a pacemaker, these must be removed prior to cremation. Titanium joint replacements can melt and become intermingled with your loved one's ashes, which makes it more difficult for these ashes to be collected and presented to you.
Pacemakers are powered by a lithium-ion battery, which can explode during cremation. This means that the cremation process will be disrupted, which can be disrespectful to your loved one while also damaging the cremation facilities. Titanium joint replacements and pacemakers are routinely (and respectfully) removed before cremation can take place. But what happens next?
Titanium joint replacements are generally recycled (after being sterilized). It might be curious to think that what was once part of your loved one's hip (or other joint) has gone on to perform a new service as an entirely new object, but this thought can even be comforting. Pacemakers are dealt with differently.
A Charitable Donation
It's possible to donate used pacemakers to medical charities for distribution in developing countries. The cost of a new pacemaker can be prohibitively expensive in many parts of the world, and once the device has been sterilized and had its battery changed, it can be a literal lifesaver for someone who otherwise would have been unable to afford it. You may be asked if you wish to make such a donation. You could even ask your funeral director to make some inquiries about this type of donation in case no relationship already exists between the funeral home or crematory and any medical charities who carry out this type of work.
Just think—the device that kept your loved one's heart beating can continue to do the same for someone else. This can be a wonderful tribute to your loved one's memory, and is certainly worth discussing with your funeral director.
Reach out to a service such as Morris Nilsen Funeral Chapel to find out more.