When a donor dies

This page contains information about what to do when a potential brain donor dies. It is very similar to what needs to happen when anyone dies.

Death takes place at home, nursing or care home: Contact the person’s family doctor. The doctor will confirm the death, issue a medical certificate and let you know how to register the death.

Death occurs in hospital: The medical certificate will be issued by one of the hospital doctors, and you will be given information about how to register the death

If the person was the subject of a Deprivation of Liberty Safeguard (DoLS) and the death was expected, and/or due to natural causes the GP will need to report the death to HM Coroner’s Office but the body can be released to the appointed funeral director. The Coroner’s Office will need a letter from the GP giving  the cause of death which the Coroner will use as part of his/her decision about whether a post mortem is needed. The GP can advise on the procedural variations if the DoLS application was in process at the time of death, or death was not expected/due to natural causes.

In all cases – please call the Brain Bank as soon as possible and leave a message if the call cannot be answered. Please leave your name and a number you can be contacted on, the donor’s name, the date and time of death.

Please carry on with funeral arrangements. BDR Brain Banks will fit in with these.

Once informed the Brain Bank will:

  • Check the consents are in place.
  • Make arrangements for the donation to take place as soon as possible, liaising with the Coroner, hospital and care home as necessary.
  • Often the Brain Bank will ask the undertakers you have chosen to transport the body of the donor to the hospital, but the Brain Bank pays for the additional journey.
  • For deaths occurring at the weekend, donation may take place on the earliest working day.
  • The donation itself does not take long and the donor is taken back to the funeral director straight after.
  • Donation does not impede viewing the body, and there is no disfigurement visible to the viewer.
  • The Brain Bank will let you know what is happening at each step if you wish this.

Thank you for making the effort to contact us at this difficult time.

For a downloadable guide about what to do after someone dies, please follow this link.