Wednesday, April 18, 2007

You learn something new everyday... but did I want to learn this?

Yesterday I received a referal to see a patient on one of my units. He has a terminal illness and thought he should starting thinking about/make plans for his death. So I'm in his room, I've explained that the nurse called me after their conversation, and we have talked about his life and various issues for about 45 minutes, when he asked "so what are you for?" That was when I had to get blunt. "The nurse said that you were thinking about end of life issues and wanted to make some decisions like a will and such." He responded with "yes. I want my body shipped to [country overseas] when I die. My family over there can't really do it and there is no one here but me. So I figure I should do what I can now." So .. yesterday I learned about how you ship a body from Canada to an international country. I called up a local funeral home, told him that I had an odd request from a patient and wondered how to do this. It's a lot of paperwork really.
Say you die and you want to shipped to England, or Africa or wherever.. you need your birth certificate, the names of your parents, where you were born, where they were born, the name of the cemetery where you will be buried, the name of the funeral home in that country, your passport. You need to have permission from the consulate, (embassy), the town where you wish to be buried. But the main thing that will determine is the fee of the transport.. the airplane. Gas and other fees -- but the interesting thing is that it is cheaper to buy the casket (for burial) in the other country and to have a sealed shipping container for the body. The reason being that airlines charge by dimensions and weight.

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