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After a brain donor dies

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After a brain donor dies

After a donor dies, the next-of-kin (partner, close relative or legal representative) should inform the person’s GP or the hospital of the donor's wishes to donate their brain for epilepsy research. The Brain and Tissue Bank should be informed immediately on 020 3448 4009.

The Brain and Tissue Bank team will then contact either the hospital or the donor’s doctor, the coroner if needed and the funeral director, and will also keep the family informed.  

The team will arrange for the body to be taken to the hospital nearest to the place of death, and for a pathologist to remove the brain and other tissue. The tissue will be taken to the Brain and Tissue Bank where it is quickly processed and stored.

If a person dies suddenly and SUDEP – sudden unexpected death in epilepsy – is suspected, there may be a post mortem to establish cause of death. If the donor’s family still wish for the brain to be donated for epilepsy research, they should inform the coroner’s officer who can arrange to release the brain to the Brain and Tissue Bank at an appropriate time.

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Deciding to donate your brain and tissue to medical research is one of the most important decisions you can make in life. Choosing to help research in this way is a very generous and valuable gift, and the decision must be something you are happy with. It is also something that needs to be discussed with those closest to you before you make any decision.

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