Death & pacemakers

question when we die is their anyway too donate it to someone who may not be able to afford or something 


They don't take it out

by Swangirl - 2018-12-09 13:55:19

Good thought but when you die you get buried with the pacemaker, or if you are cremated it get's returned to your relatives with the other non-combustibles in our body.  Also, no one in the medical profession would take the liability of implanting an old device in someone who couldn't afford the surgery or the device.  

Because our healthcare system is broken in the United States poor people are often just left to die.  Sad but it happens all too often. 

Not quite true everywhere Swangirl

by IAN MC - 2018-12-09 14:13:31

Certainly here in the UK there is a charity PACE4LIFE which collects donated pacemakers ( not unlike organ donation ) and, providing that there is at least 70 % of remaining battery life, then sterilize them and send them to the developing world. They are then implanted into people who otherwise would die.

I did once actually meet up with the man here who started the charity as he lives relatively near to me.

I don't think you have anything similar in the US but I did once read on here that you do have a scheme where donated pacemakers are implanted into animals.


How so Robin?

by Swangirl - 2018-12-09 22:09:55

I'm curious Robin1 how do legal citizens, immigants or others in the U.S. legally get these devices implanted?  Who pays for it?  I am a social worker who has grappled with the healthcare issues for 50 years and I have yet to find that source.  Medicaid is being cut.  Gofundme?  

it's appalling

by jessie - 2018-12-10 01:01:20

to read that if one needs a pm or device in the usa that if not covered by insurance one is turned down to die is a bit appalling.. where i live everyone has coverage. it is not sociolistic either. we pay even us seniors from our income tax we pay every year a portion to cover healthcare.i suspect even social assistance pays now out of their monthly funds for the same coverage, of course anyone working pays.when i had my 3 lead 2nd pm installed i didn't receive a bill. i asked and it was 250,000 dollars. the only question i was asked was if i wanted to live. i respected that question as some maybe do not. i am grateful every day for my country and standard of liivng

More Civilized Countries

by Swangirl - 2018-12-10 01:32:30

Yes Jessie, Canada is one of those civilized countries where healthcare is a right.  Not so here in the U.S.  Now our government is making it hard for people to get insurance coverage of every kind, if you are not on Medicare or covered by your employer.  Hospitals here are obligated to take care of people who show up in the Emergency department but some small and rural hospitals are closing because they can't stay afloat.  The number one reason for bankruptcy in the U. S. is medical expenses.  

MISINFORMED people should not comment!

by BOBTHOM - 2018-12-10 10:27:02

In the USA, if you need one you get one.  How it's paid for is another story.  If it's medically needed it gets done.

As for donation,  in the USA when you die they perform an autopsy and the device gets sent back to the manufacturer so they can review/check/confirm the device functioned as it should have.

Take your own advice BOBTHOM

by Swangirl - 2018-12-10 12:21:43

You should not spread this kind of misinformation

Bob ????

by IAN MC - 2018-12-10 13:35:35

Are you suggesting that everyone who dies in the USA with a PM / ICD automatically has an autopsy ( even if they have died from natural causes ) . I would be very surprised if this is the case !

Also I am more and more confused as to whether people ever do die  in the USA purely  because of their lack of funds for medical care ?


In North Carolina that's what happens...

by BOBTHOM - 2018-12-10 14:16:21

That's the explanation I got from my cardiologist.  They autopsy to determine cause of death, then the device is sent to manufacturer to confirm it did everything it was supposed to do.

For having insurance, it's more complicated but,  retired or disabled have Medicare, the poor have Medicaid, the military has VA (tricare), government employees have insurance, most full time employees have insurance through employer, others can purchase insurance on the health care exchanges, and then there is indigent care.  So virtually everyone is insured unless they are want to save a few bucks and risk going without, and yes, that can be difficult for some folks to decide between the two.  Sometimes it's rent or health insurance, but there are programs available in most of those instances as well.

There are some procedures that are restricted as they are everywhere, for example heart transplant.  I've already been told I won't qualify.  The reality is, in rough estimated numbers, we do 50,000 transplants a year, there are over 500,000 on the waiting list.  They weigh a number of factors and give the transplants to those who have best chance for longest survival, who also meet the biological matching criteria.

Just clarifying my points.  

Lack of access to healthcare in the US

by ar_vin - 2018-12-10 14:39:08

(Sorry for this thread drift - I have no direct knowledge of pacemakers at death but I do understand a little of lack of access in the US).

It might be true that anyone who shows up at a hospital or doctor's office with a health issue will possibly get treated BUT there are many many others who might have serious medical issues that have NO health insurance. These are the "working poor" - those that fall through the cracks - they make too much money to qualify for (the increasingly curtailed) Medicaid programs but can't afford to buy health insurance. Often it's a choice between putting food on the table and paying for a roof over their heads and paying for health insurance. This is increasingly true in the higher cost areas with skyrocketing rents.

Many of these people don't even show up for care for even chronic health conditions like diabetes which can be fatal if left untreated over time.

We can live in denial - continuing to believe that these aren't real problems in this great land of ours but that that does not change the reality for many of the working uninsured.


Non profit organizations....

by BOBTHOM - 2018-12-10 16:41:01

There are many programs both government and private.  St. Judes Childrens Hospital is an example.  They treat all children with no charge to anyone!  It can be hard to find where to get help, but there are alot of programs out there.

The biggest problem is not the cost of health insurance but the cost of health care itself.  That is driven by 2 forms of insurance, the health insurance providers and the malpractice insurance companies.  There needs to be tort reform (limit how much you can sue a doctor for) that will reduce the malpractice insurance cost which is a substantial amount of all medical practice costs.  Then the waste in health care, they keep prescribing me diuretics because with heart failure you retain fluids.  I don't because of my specific issues but they keep trying to feed them to me.  I keep saying no but others who get automatic fulfillment may just get them and throw them out.  They also insist that I need cholesterol meds, but I don't, and again, I keep saying no.  And how many follow up visits do you really need?  I had stitches once, had them put in, had them taken out, then was scheduled for another visit, why?  I'm smart enough to know if it's getting infected and would then call, but others would just schedule and go even if there are no issues.   Those are just some of the issues as I see it.  Just my 2 cents.

Denial, denial, denial

by ar_vin - 2018-12-10 17:11:03

Is the new American way it appears.....

We can discuss ad nauseum the root causes of high costs but the fact remains that significant numbers of the US population won't even go see a doctor as they fear the bills. That is the reality......



Thanks ar_vin

by Swangirl - 2018-12-10 18:38:44

The U.S. Healthcare system is broken and our president tries hard to break it more.  If you call up a doctor and try to get an appointment the very first thing you are asked is what kind of insurance you have.  If you show up at the ER and don't have a life threatening issue you will be given some medicine and sent on your way. 

Medicaid is being cut back primarily because the tax benefit to the rich and the corporations caused a deficit.  If you show up at the welfare office wanting medicaid and you have any kind of assets or job you will get little or nothing.  It's an absolute fact that the number one cause of bankfuptcy in the U.S. is medical expenses.  People go into hospitals and pay the "rack rate" when they have no insurance, get stuck with a bill they can't pay, and go bankrupt or sacrifice all their assets to stay alive or keep loved ones alive. 

Yes St. Jude's is wonderful for disabled children and gets lots of private donations because those kids are so desperate and so adorable.  What about the seedy dispicable smelly homeless man?  Where does he go.  Just yesterday they had a service for the more than 1000 unclaimed bodies in L.A. county alone in California.  What does that tell you.  These people died in single occupancy hotels or on the street.  I am a social worker.  I know this first hand.  Don't tell me everyone gets care.  I know better.  That is a myth propagated by people who don't want to vote for universal healthcare, what every other civilized country has but ours.

good lord

by ROBO Pop - 2018-12-10 19:21:29

The answer to your question, since you are an American, is that it is illegal to reuse a pacemaker or defibrillator including CRT's in a human being in the United states.

They are supposed to extract devices on death and return them to the original manufacturer for analysis and disposal

As for Bobthom's comment that misinformed people should not comment, I would agree 100% and he above all should refrain since the majority of his comments are bull sh*t.

Frankly the quality and accuracy of comments on this site have hit the toilet bowl the past few years. Some seem bent on perpetuating false information much like the US President.


Robo Pop, seriously??? Majority is bs??

by BOBTHOM - 2018-12-14 00:37:54

So lets see,  PM's are removed and returned to manufacturer.  Accute need is treated.  Majority of Americans are covered by health insurance through employer, government program etc.  Some people may have to chose between rent or health insurance.  Insurance companies drive up healthcare costs.  There are programs such as St Judes.  What majority of those statements do you consider BS?  

You know you're wired when...

Your signature looks like an EKG.

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I’m healthy as a horse because of the pacemaker.