Third World Problems, First World Solutions

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As high as insurance premiums are in America, especially considering what is covered (or not covered) under most policies, we at least have access to healthcare. While the system definitely needs work to insure everybody gets proper healthcare in the USA, there are a number of developing countries that don’t have access to even basic medical care, let alone the ability to benefit from advanced devices like pacemakers.

Fortunately, there is My Heart Your Heart (MHYH). This great effort, in partnership with the University of Michigan, brings access to refurbished pacemakers and defibrillators to those that would not have access to them otherwise. Because Mid-States Recycling and Refining already recycles te post cremation metals, it makes sense that we also offer our funeral home and crematory customers a proper disposal option for the pacemakers they remove before cremation. Instead of trying to recycle them in a traditional manner, which would be to open them and remove any circuit boards and recycle the other metals, we donate these pacemakers to MHYH.


According to the MHYH program, each year, 2 million people worldwide die due to a lack of access to pacemakers and defibrillators. Cardiovascular disease has an increasing impact on morbidity and mortality in developing countries, many of which already face a disproportionate burden of infections leading to abnormalities. There is a great disparity between high- and low-income countries in terms of pacemaker and defibrillator availability. Novel methods of delivering costly electrophysiological health care to impoverished nations are needed.

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The purpose of the collaborative project is to evaluate and sterilize used pacemakers post-mortem for safe reuse. Creating suitable refurbished devices is the only hope for most in these developing countries. MHYH has received more than 15,000 used devices to date which is great, but considering how many people need them they could certainly use much more.

We have many customers who choose to donate all of their reimbursement received from recycling post-cremation metals and this is a great idea. Working with MHYH is a great way for us as the recycler to also contribute to an important and worthy cause. Pacemaker reuse can safely and effectively provide an opportunity for a new life for many.

Kevin McKayComment