NEW doctors are to be trained how to spot death, the department of health announced yesterday.
The current medical degree concentrates on key practical problems for doctors, including the five essential differences between the Jaguar XF and the Lexus GS400.
Death is currently decided using non-scientific methods such as fixed, dilated pupils, the absence of a pulse or a failure to renew a subscription to Readers' Digest.
Henry Brubaker, head of death at the Institute for Studies, said: "Advances in modern medicine have made it increasingly hard to spot who is and who isn't dead.
"Millions of people who are dead are sitting around at home as if nothing has happened, creating a huge amount of wasted food and a reliable audience for Saturday night television."
Brubaker's team estimates it will take at least three years to develop a series of foolproof tests for death, which he hopes will catch out even the most cunning insurance fraudster.
He said: "First we'll dip their left hand in a deep fat fryer, and if that doesn't work we'll stick them in their soft parts with a red hot knitting needle.
"Our last resort is to get an Asian doctor to stand next to their bed, jabbering in Hindi and carrying a funnel and a hose."