What to do when a donor dies

It's vital that tissue is collected as soon as possible after a Brain Bank donor dies. Below is a step-by-step guide you can follow.

The Parkinson's UK Brain Bank is working hard to continue organising tissue donations during this coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The situation is challenging and hospitals may not have the capacity to carry out tissue donations. We're doing everything we can to make sure donations go ahead if possible.

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Step-by-step guide

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If a donor has died or is not expected to live much longer, please call or text the Parkinson's UK Brain Bank on the emergency number as soon as you can: 

07566 950 965

You'll need to give the following details, by leaving a voicemail or sending a text:

  • Your name and contact telephone number
  • The donor's name and donor card number

If it's between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Sunday, the Brain Bank will be in touch within 30 minutes of your call.

If it's outside these hours the Brain Bank will be in touch first thing the next day.

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The next step is to tell the donor's doctor or GP about their wish to donate and ask for a medical certificate of death as soon as possible.

Hospitals will not remove any tissue until they have a signed medical certificate of death.

Getting a death certificate can sometimes be a problem at weekends. The sooner you can speak to a doctor about this the better.

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  • If the donor dies at home or in a care home please ask the funeral director to take the donor into their care.
  • If the donor dies in hospital the body should be moved to the mortuary.

This needs to happen as quickly as possible, ideally within 4 hours, so the body can be kept cold to preserve the tissues.

We really appreciate your help at this difficult time

We are committed to doing everything we can to support donors and their families, and will strive to honour all requests.

For any general queries about the Parkinson's UK Brain Bank please call Parkinson's UK on 020 7594 9732.