Observer Comment: Organ donation and funeral expenses

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THERE are 8,000 people in this country currently waiting for an organ transplant. The average cost of a funeral today is almost £1,500.

The sums speak for themselves. What better way could there be to encourage people to give up their organs once they die.

To give someone the chance of life is one of the most selfless acts anyone can make.

The Nuffield Council of Bioethics appears to have come up with a very good idea.

It believes that by encouraging people to become donors by offering to pay for their funeral expenses more will sign up in the long term.

There are 18 million people already on the Organ Donor Register. But the NHS wants another seven million donors by the year 2013.

Well-known local character, Duncan Sharp, was inspired to become an organ donor by his life-long friend Dick Pearse.

Dick, the landlord of the Plough in Cock Marling, requires dialysis three times a week.

He was diagnosed several years ago and Duncan immediately offered one of his kidneys before signing up to become a donor.

Sadly Duncan died last year but his legacy lives on. He helped save the lives of two adults who had serious illnesses.

With many people struggling to cope with the costs of daily living today in these challenging economic times, knowing that their funeral expenses would be taken care of could be a major relief as well as a perfect incentive.

Nobody wants to burden their family with expensive funeral costs once they have left this mortal coil.

What better inscription to have on your tombstone than ‘this person helped saved the life of another’?’

We are a fickle nation when it comes to talking about death.

And like Duncan’s sister Stella Douglas states it was the whole experience of helping someone to have new life that truly helped her come to terms with death.

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IF EVER there was a lesson in how not to care for our more vulnerable members of society it came with the county council-run Mount Denys care home.

The Care Quality Commission’s full report into the mismanagement of the home was quite stomach churning.

The report conjured up gruesome images of the old Victorian lunatic asylums run by fear and loathing.

It cannot be right to have any human being treated in such a manner and at risk of such serious harm in this day and age.

Since then East Sussex County Council has spent more than £200,000 and there are signs of improvement.

Let us hope the plans put in place are robust enough to ensure all residents are given the standard of care they deserve.