The circular economy has really taken off in recent years, as people and organizations have attempted to strip out the waste in all manner of processes, whether it’s hugely complex manufacturing or something as simple as glass jars. One intriguing area it is also emerging in is that of pacemakers.
The concept of organ donation is pretty well established, and whilst take up of it is still perhaps less than it should be, thousands of lives have been saved due to the donation of organs by the recently deceased.
Whilst donating our organs is well accepted, it’s much less common to donate the various gadgets that augment and support our bodies from within. Indeed, European rules currently prevent the re-use of devices such as pacemakers once their owner has passed away.
It seems something of a waste, especially as many in the developing world are crying out for these devices but cannot currently afford them.
A charity, called Pace 4 Life, is hoping to change matters to make it easier for patients to donate not only their organs but their pacemaker too.
The charity has teamed up with the National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors to try and campaign for change. They’re currently obtaining consent from patients and their families to both collect and use their pacemakers should they pass away.
Each retrieved device will be thoroughly tested, and providing they are both fit for reuse and have more than 70 percent of their battery life remaining, they are then resterilized and made available to patients in the developing world.
With each pacemaker costing in the region of £2,500, the devices are often beyond the means of many poor people in the world, especially in countries such as Ghana and India, where Pace 4 Life do much of their work.
The charity are hoping that the process will shortly receive official endorsement from the World Health Organization, at which point it can be scaled up.
It’s a nice project that is putting to fantastic use devices that would otherwise go to waste. You can find out more about Pace 4 Life via the video below.