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Killing for Organs: Taking Neurologically Devastated Patients' Kidneys Before Death
First Things/Secondhand Smoke ^ | 4/10/10 | Wesley J. Smith

Posted on 04/10/2010 12:47:46 PM PDT by wagglebee

As I have repeatedly reported here and elsewhere, some bioethicists and others in the transplant community seek permission to harvest patients’ organs before they are dead.  The latest example is in the Winter 2010 edition of Lahey Clinical Journal of Medical Ethics, in which Brown University transplant surgeon, Dr. Paul Morrissey, argues that to obtain more usable kidneys, organs should be taken from neurologically devastated patients without first withdrawing life support and waiting for death by cardiac arrest.  From the article “Kidney Donation From Brain-Injured Patients Before a Declaration of Death:”

My proposed model uncouples organ donation from the donor’s death. The process begins as before with they identification of an individual with good renal function and with severe, irreversible brain injury with no hope for purposeful or prolonged existence. The family decides to withdraw care with the expectation of the patient’s imminent death. A DNR order is written. With the consent of the donor family, the patient is transported to the operating room for kidney recovery. Both kidneys are recovered in a controlled surgical procedure with vascular control, equivalent to bilateral nephrectomy in a neurologically intact patient. General anesthesia and standard analgesic care are administered, as would be given to a trauma victim with severe head injury undergoing surgery. The patient returns to the intensive care unit and end-of-life care is instituted, in a more relaxed time period without the requisite “rush” to the operating room following asystole. This protocol enables the family to grieve and spend time with the decedent after death.

Currently, a donor must first be declared dead, either by neurological criteria (brain death)–not the kind discussed here–or after removal of life support and cardiac arrest.  This proposal would reverse the order, first take the kidneys, and then remove the life support,  under the pretense of obeying the dead donor rule as the actual death could come after the kidneys were removed. But this sophistry: The patient couldn’t possibly live without kidneys, and many would die during the surgery.

Morrissey says these patients will die if life support is removed anyway.  Indeed, he claims:

With what certainty do we know that cardiopulmonary death will ensue following the withdrawal of life-sustaining therapy? To date, no patient entered into consideration for DCD has been reported to have prolonged cardiac function or entered a persistent vegetative state. Cases of prolonged cardiac function after extubation beyond even 24 hours are exceedingly rare.

So in essence, what’s the harm?  There’s plenty: Consent or no consent, there is harm in treating a patient like an object–both to the specific individual and society.  Besides, plenty of patients considered for the heart death protocol didn’t become donors precisely because they didn’t die within an hour as expected.  Moreover, according to a study published last year in the Journal of Intensive Care Medicine, as reported here:

There is a misconception that withdrawal of ventilatory and hemodynamic support will result in immediate or imminent death in the ICU. A survey of withdrawal of mechanical ventilation in the critically ill adults at 15 ICUs found that 21 of 166 patients (13%) survived to ICU discharge after withdrawal of life support.

Dr. Morrissey might respond by differentiating his proposal from the patients in this study, since he would select only the most imminently dying from devastating head injuries.  Perhaps, but as this blog has abundantly demonstrated, standards slip.  Besides, it is certainly conceivable that at least some patients whose kidneys were removed could possibly have otherwise survived withdrawal of mechanical ventilation.

Dr. Morrissey’s proposal would indeed, be killing for organs, even if the heart stopped after removing the organs.  Moreover, once we walked through that door, the practice would only expand as a matter of simple logic.  To maintain the people’s trust in transplant medicine and to prevent human beings from being used as mere harvestable resource, such proposals should be rejected at every turn.



TOPICS: Health/Medicine
KEYWORDS: moralabsolutes; organharvesting; prolife
If the culture of death gets they will start taking organs from anyone they want.
1 posted on 04/10/2010 12:47:46 PM PDT by wagglebee
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To: cgk; Coleus; cpforlife.org; narses; Salvation; 8mmMauser

Pro-Life Ping


2 posted on 04/10/2010 12:48:47 PM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: BykrBayb; floriduh voter; Lesforlife

Ping


3 posted on 04/10/2010 12:49:08 PM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: 185JHP; 230FMJ; Albion Wilde; Aleighanne; Alexander Rubin; An American In Dairyland; Antoninus; ...
Moral Absolutes Ping!

Freepmail wagglebee to subscribe or unsubscribe from the moral absolutes ping list.

FreeRepublic moral absolutes keyword search
[ Add keyword moral absolutes to flag FR articles to this ping list ]


4 posted on 04/10/2010 12:49:35 PM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: wagglebee

With apologies to Gene Wilder and the cast: “Is it fresh?” “It is very fresh, Master.”


5 posted on 04/10/2010 12:53:17 PM PDT by Pearls Before Swine
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To: wagglebee

So much for the hippocratic oath.


6 posted on 04/10/2010 12:56:32 PM PDT by mamelukesabre (Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum (If you want peace prepare for war))
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To: wagglebee

The problem is when they stop asking for permission.

If they paid even a modest sum they would have more organs than they could handle.

What we have now is them saving money by letting people on waiting lists die.

welcome to the future of all healthcare.


7 posted on 04/10/2010 12:57:02 PM PDT by GeronL (Entitlement Zombies will become real zombies when the money runs out)
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To: wagglebee
Somewhere in Hell Mengele is clapping.
8 posted on 04/10/2010 12:58:31 PM PDT by proudofthesouth (We need a group of men with the intelligence, courage, & integrity that our Founding Fathers had.)
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To: wagglebee
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sp-pU8TFsg0
9 posted on 04/10/2010 12:59:13 PM PDT by lowbridge (Rep. Dingell: "Its taken a long time.....to control the people.")
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To: wagglebee

YIPEEEEE!

Liberal Brown University says that if someone’s brain has been disconnected from their nervous system it is a-okay to harvest their parts for the good of society. Let the harvesting of progressive democrats commence!


10 posted on 04/10/2010 1:02:30 PM PDT by anonsquared
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To: wagglebee

Dr. Mengele I presume? History....history...history....God save the Republic.


11 posted on 04/10/2010 1:07:29 PM PDT by Don Corleone ("Oil the gun..eat the cannolis. Take it to the Mattress.")
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To: wagglebee

It is reprehensible stories like this that have made me adamantly AGAINST donating my organs or those of my family members. No only had those wretched transplant ghouls best not even ask me to donate a family member’s organs but they had best not even look like they are walking in my direction. It would take SEVERAL members of the hospital’s security staff to pull me off those damned grave robbers. Vile, disgusting creatures all.

This produces a visceral hatred of the subject of donation that I cannot intellectual explain. I do NOT trust the medical staff of hospitals that would view me and mine not as patients, but as ‘potential’ donors.


12 posted on 04/10/2010 1:17:42 PM PDT by bigredkitty1 (March 5,2010. I will miss you, Big Red.)
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To: wagglebee
An excerpt from Dr. Paul Morrissey's modest proposal:

...with no hope for purposeful or prolonged existence.

Notice the use of the word "or" instead of "and". Not that I would agree if he had used "and", but it does reveal a certain mindset.

13 posted on 04/10/2010 1:20:08 PM PDT by Chesterbelloc
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To: bigredkitty1
This produces a visceral hatred of the subject of donation that I cannot intellectual explain. I do NOT trust the medical staff of hospitals that would view me and mine not as patients, but as ‘potential’ donors.

Exactly! Organ transplantation is one of the greatest advances in medical history, but the disrespect that many in the medical community show toward the living is ruining it.

14 posted on 04/10/2010 1:21:38 PM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: Chesterbelloc

And what the hell does “purposeful” even mean? I can list hundreds of politicians whose continued purpose is entirely detrimental.


15 posted on 04/10/2010 1:23:26 PM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: wagglebee

Eventually, if the organ takers get too greedy, I can imagine a prophylaxis. A one time injection of a weakened pathogen that will insure that organs will never be used.

What the optimum “false positive” would be is uncertain, but once in your system, it would make normal, healthy organs seem to be unacceptable. Then, along with your identification, make sure that it is clearly marked, not that you don’t *want* to be an organ donor, but that you *cannot* be an organ donor. Under *any* circumstances.

It is a simple case of persuasion. Doctors are very capable of disregarding your desires and opinions vs. what they want. But they are far less able to ignore or disregard objective warnings known to medicine.


16 posted on 04/10/2010 1:33:09 PM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy
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To: wagglebee

He should make this clear by simply stating this would only apply to the brain dead.

I’m very much in favor of organ transplantation but I’ll never be a donor until they allow the sale of organs so my family would get something out of it when i’m done.


17 posted on 04/10/2010 2:55:35 PM PDT by Raymann
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To: GeronL
The problem is when they stop asking for permission.

One problem now is of whom they ask permission. I have observed the very real situation of permission for donation after cardiac death, the withdrawal of life support in preparation for organ donation, being granted by children. Frequently there is a large inheritance at stake. The entire transplant industry stinks to the core.

18 posted on 04/11/2010 7:45:57 AM PDT by outofstyle (Anti-socialist)
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To: All
Pinged from Terri Dailies


19 posted on 04/11/2010 11:17:46 AM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: wagglebee

Organ harvesters do more stripping than poll dancers. People, wake up. The procedure is heinous. The brain has to be alive for the heart to beat. Heinous, heinous, heinous.


20 posted on 04/13/2010 4:15:29 PM PDT by floriduh voter (Charlie Crist is Florida's Tonya Harding. SUPPORT MARCO RUBIO, EVERYBODY!)
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To: wagglebee
The HCA chain of hospitals where Frist came out of and where Jeb Bush serves/served as a board of directors, they're organ happy. I went to one for an x-ray and although I was not about to check out, they shoved a clip board in my face about a Living Will. I shoved it back at them. When a friend was in real brain death, her daughter and friends told her HCA was organ happy and give them nothing. They called at all hours asking for eyes and other parts. I believe they kept my friend alive an extra week to keep her parts "fresh".

HCA got nothing for their enthusiasm and extreme poor taste. Not one eyeball!

21 posted on 04/13/2010 4:19:48 PM PDT by floriduh voter (Charlie Crist is Florida's Tonya Harding. SUPPORT MARCO RUBIO, EVERYBODY!)
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