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Offering free funerals to organ donors could boost donation rates

Tuesday October 11,2011

By Simon preston

OFFERING free funerals to organ donors could boost donation rates, it was claimed yesterday.

The Nuffield Council on Bioethics recommends payment if someone on the donor register dies in circumstances where their organs could go to others.

Three people die each day waiting for a transplant, it says.

Report author Keith Rigg, a transplant surgeon at Nottingham University Hospitals, said the scheme might offer surviving relatives help at a difficult time.

He said that medical schools often covered the burial or cremation costs of those who donated body parts for anatomy and other classes.

But University of Manchester professor John Harris described the idea as “macabre”.

Roger Goss, of Patient Concern, said: “Offering funeral expenses in return for organs may result in families leaning on sick relatives to donate because it can save thousands of pounds.”