The Week in Death 19/11/18

The Week in Death

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From new criticisms of NHS palliative care, the latest articles on, the best death-related moments in the Marvel universe, right through to the strange world of immortal lobster, here’s The Week in Death.

News and campaigns

Do death doulas fill care gaps at the end of life?

A recent article in The Conversation has asked whether or not death doulas provide a bridge between NHS care and care provided by families. We think it’s true that gaps in care are being filled by not just death doulas, but family members, too.

It’s built into the hospice and palliative care system that families help out – either by being full time carers who use respite care, or as a stand in for around the clock care.  

Hospice care has grown massively in recent years, with many NHS hospitals combining with charitable palliative care teams. But the system relies on care done by family members, which in 2010 was thought to total around 7.6bn hours. Without this vital care being done by family, we wonder what standard of care would be provided for those who need it.

Articles on

What happens to your data privacy after you die?

What happens to all the emails you’ve sent, all those hours of surfing Youtube and all the details of your more mundane interactions on Facebook, such as that particularly bitter exchange between you and your best friend over the Strictly Come Dancing final, after you die? 

While Google aren’t able to guarantee that personal data is completely removed from their systems, the world of data is a grey area.  So where does it all go after you die?

The surprising careers of dead celebrities

For some celebrities, being dead is a lucrative career move. Whether it’s resurrection through CGI or the proclivity for singers to turn up at concerts through hologram 5 years after they die, there’s a lot of earning potential in dying. We take a look at the different ways celebrities keep earning after they die.

Farewell Wishes

Are you a) Human? and b) Mortal? If you answered yes to both of those, you’ll want to take a look at Farewell Wishes. In just 10 questions you can think about your own death and the details of your funeral – from whether you’d like to be buried or cremated to the kinds of songs you’d want played – and then pass them on to whoever should know. Family, friends, neighbours, pets, bank managers, passers by – everyone!

Start planning your funeral with Farewell Wishes here

Watching, listening and reading

We’ve been thinking about the late, great Stan Lee. The creator of our childhood worlds, keeper of our greatest secrets and the reason we didn’t go on many dates as teenagers, Stan Lee (along with his co-creator Jack Kirby) was the mind behind Marvel comics. After Stan Lee died last week, we created a list of our favourite Marvel death-related moments to make up for it.

The night Gwen Stacey died Gwen Stacey’s death had us rolling around on the floor screaming WHY?!! into our pillows and generally leaving us emotional wrecks.

Captain America dies… then comes back! Captain America dies. Sad. But in a miraculous development that defies logic, making us all believe in cryonics in the process, Captain America’s frozen body reanimates. 

Bruce Banner meets his end, stifled by the Hulk As Banner wrestles with the side of him he doesn’t really want to let loose, the conflict between his two natures comes to an unhappy end.


So, we’ve decided to look into immortality. We started with the strange creatures of the ocean, as they’re usually where the Earth’s most miraculously weird inhabitants reside. Out in the ocean, you can find organisms that are – technically! – immortal, such as the appropriately named Immortal Lobster.

Mostly found in the Mediterranean, the Turritopsis dohrnii (the Immortal Lobster’s more formal name) is able to revert itself to a sexually immature stage even after it’s reached full adult age.

What this means is that Immortal Lobsters just might hold the key to eternal life. An enzyme known as telomerase prevents the DNA in the lobsters’ cells from being damaged as they’re replicated. Every time this happens the telomerase shorten, effectively making sure the lobster never ages.

The next time you come across the humble American lobster (they’re common enough creatures, you’re likely to find one in your nearest seafood restaurant) remember that it might have the impressive ability to regenerate.

Remember, if you aren’t immortal, or a jellyfish for that matter, then you might want to make sure you’ve recorded your Farewell Wishes. You can do so using our new tool here.

Tune into The Week in Death next time for more updates on death, dying and everything in between. In the meantime, head to to start thinking about your funeral. 

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