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New study questions “brain-death” criterion for organ donation
LifeSiteNews ^ | 9/15/06 | Peter J. Smith

Posted on 09/17/2006 9:49:54 AM PDT by wagglebee

ROME, September 15, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A new case-study raises more doubts about the ethical determination of “brain-death”, since researchers discovered that a patient suffering from a “persistent vegetative state” (PVS) demonstrated similar brain activity to healthy conscious individuals according to Zenit news.

Under the leadership of neuroscientist Dr. Adrian Owen, the team of scientists from Cambridge University and the Belgian University of Liège applied MRI technology to discover that the brain activity of a PVS patient indicated she was “consciously aware of herself and her surroundings.”

In their experiment, the researchers gave oral commands to a 23-year-old comatose Englishwoman, who fulfilled all the requirements of a “persistent vegetative state”, while they measured her brain activity with an MRI scanner.

According to the researchers, the woman showed increased activity in speech comprehension centers in her brain while researchers spoke to her, indicating comprehension. When the researchers asked her to imagine herself playing tennis and walking through the rooms of her home, the imaging screen showed activity in the woman’s brain areas governing visual-spatial and motor functions: all patterns similarly observed in healthy volunteers.

In their report, Dr. Owen and his scientists wrote, "Despite fulfilling the clinical criteria for a diagnosis of vegetative state, this patient retained the ability to understand spoken commands and to respond to them through her brain activity, rather than through speech or movement."

"Moreover, her decision to cooperate with the authors by imagining particular tasks when asked to do so represents a clear act of intention, which confirmed beyond any doubt that she was consciously aware of herself and her surroundings," they stated in the September 8 issue of Science.

Zenit reports that Fr. Gonzalo Miranda, LC, a bioethics professor at the Regina Apostolorum University in Rome, believes this is the first time scientists have delved into the inner workings of a person’s brain activity.

"Until now," he said, "we only had a few tests about the responsiveness of a person in this state which were limited to exterior observations -- things or gestures a person could do or not."

"These studies have confirmed something I've upheld for years now: that a person in a vegetative state is not dead,” added Fr. Miranda. “They are a person living in a bad state, but they are a person, so we must respect them."

The recent case-study significantly bolsters the argument of opponents of the “brain-death” criterion for organ donation, who fear that severely brain-injured patients are seen more and more as living organ farms than as persons needing care and attention. Hospitals frequently have invoked “brain death” to justify harvesting organs ever since organ donation and transplantation became a multi-billion dollar industry beginning with the first successful organ transplants and the development of immunosuppressant drugs in the late 1950s.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Extended News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: bioethics; braininjury; cultureofdeath; eugenics; moralabsolutes; organdonation; pvs
The recent case-study significantly bolsters the argument of opponents of the “brain-death” criterion for organ donation, who fear that severely brain-injured patients are seen more and more as living organ farms than as persons needing care and attention.

Unfortunately, the Culture of Death DOES see all of us as organ farms.

1 posted on 09/17/2006 9:49:55 AM PDT by wagglebee
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To: 69ConvertibleFirebird; Alexander Rubin; An American In Dairyland; Antoninus; Aquinasfan; BIRDS; ...
Moral Absolutes Ping!

Freepmail wagglebee or little jeremiah 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 ]


2 posted on 09/17/2006 9:50:44 AM PDT by wagglebee ("We are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom." -- President Bush, 1/20/05)
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To: 8mmMauser; T'wit; BykrBayb; floriduh voter

Ping!


3 posted on 09/17/2006 9:51:26 AM PDT by wagglebee ("We are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom." -- President Bush, 1/20/05)
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To: wagglebee

There's some truth in that research. Judge Greer has been brain dead for years, yet is still making mindboggling rulings.


4 posted on 09/17/2006 9:54:27 AM PDT by mtbopfuyn (I think the border is kind of an artificial barrier - San Antonio councilwoman Patti Radle)
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To: wagglebee

At one point I had doubts that clones could ever be used as organ farms, but now who knows. If cloning is ever viable who knows how it will be used?


5 posted on 09/17/2006 9:57:04 AM PDT by ozoneliar ("The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants" -T.J.)
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To: wagglebee; redgirlinabluestate; DadOfTwoMarines; aimee5291; GatorGirl; maryz; ...

+

If you want on (or off) this Catholic and Pro-Life ping list, let me know!



6 posted on 09/17/2006 9:58:54 AM PDT by narses (St Thomas says “lex injusta non obligat”)
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To: wagglebee

Where was this info when Terri Schiavo needed it?


7 posted on 09/17/2006 10:00:09 AM PDT by GhostSoldier
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To: wagglebee
Huge error in the first paragraph, trying to conflate a vegetative state with brain death. Those are different things. Brain death means there is no brain activity. In a vegetative state there is brain activity -- even wakefulness -- but no apparent awareness of one's surroundings.

No doctor would declare a person in a vegetative state to be "brain dead."
8 posted on 09/17/2006 10:02:13 AM PDT by Celtjew Libertarian ("Don't take life so seriously. You'll never get out of it alive." -- Bugs Bunny)
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To: wagglebee

the brain-death squad already was on watch before my dad was transferred from another hospital and then at this "world renowned" hospital, they refused to show me the cat scans that would have "proven" to me that there was "complete" brain death.


9 posted on 09/17/2006 10:04:04 AM PDT by machogirl
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To: wagglebee
What does this have to do with brain death? Brain death involves zip, zero, and nada brain activity. With those in a vegetative state some brain activity remains. From this page:
PVS should be distinguished from from three related neurologic conditions: brain death, the "locked-in" syndrome, and coma. With brain death (sometimes called whole brain death) the entire brain including the brainstem is irreversibly and completely destroyed. If brain death precedes injury to the rest of the body, all other organ systems fail within days. It is not possible to keep the body alive indefinitely with machines in cases of brain death.{16} Harvard Medical School criteria for diagnosing brain death include unresponsiveness, absence of spontaneous respiration, and loss of brainstem reflex activity.{17} In 1981 the President's Commission report proposed an updated version of the Harvard criteria.{18} While there have been some criticisms of these, the modified Harvard criteria are the ones most widely accepted for determining brain death.{19}

An EEG can easily tell if a person is brain-dead or not, and an EEG can easily tell if a person is in a true permanently unconscious vegetative state or a state more similar to the "locked-in" state (where the patient is conscious but unable to move or speak). Fortunately EEGs are relatively cheap and readily available.

10 posted on 09/17/2006 10:04:46 AM PDT by ahayes (My strength is as the strength of ten because my heart is pure.)
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To: Celtjew Libertarian

Beat me by two minutes. Shouldn't have spent so long searching for an explanation of this. ;-)


11 posted on 09/17/2006 10:05:35 AM PDT by ahayes (My strength is as the strength of ten because my heart is pure.)
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To: wagglebee
the ethical determination of “brain-death”,

It's a legal determination of the state.

12 posted on 09/17/2006 10:06:30 AM PDT by RightWhale (Repeal the law of the excluded middle)
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To: Celtjew Libertarian
they are doing that now with "non-brain dead" donations, those with still limited brain function, that can't breath on their own.

quote from this local group "when meaningful, brain activity has ceased" what is meaningful? terry schiavo wasn't

also donation after cardiac death, "hurry as soon as their heart stops, let their brain die, resuscitate and harvest"

Donation After Cardiac Death DCD their heart has stopped, they're dead

if anyone doesn't want to take my word, and I would look it up myself anyway, check out the new criteria that they are asking for, the above plus they want only to have one person determine brain death, it is such a money driven industry that along the way helps people, but is IMMUNE to LIABILITY,
REGULATION, AND MORALITY
13 posted on 09/17/2006 10:15:34 AM PDT by machogirl
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To: Celtjew Libertarian; ahayes

So are you supportive of the forced death of people with PVS?


14 posted on 09/17/2006 10:19:54 AM PDT by wagglebee ("We are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom." -- President Bush, 1/20/05)
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To: machogirl

Maybe that is happening in some places. However, I do medical transcription for an intensive care unit and it is not happening where I work.

In any case, the author is still incorrect when he conflates brain death with vegetative state.


15 posted on 09/17/2006 10:26:23 AM PDT by Celtjew Libertarian ("Don't take life so seriously. You'll never get out of it alive." -- Bugs Bunny)
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To: wagglebee

Hah, I've tangled with your group, but not today! It's a surreal experience. As the article posted indicates, truth is trodden underfoot. I won't put up with having my every word twisted and maligned and having the most outrageous insults said to my face today.


16 posted on 09/17/2006 10:27:44 AM PDT by ahayes (My strength is as the strength of ten because my heart is pure.)
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To: wagglebee
So are you supportive of the forced death of people with PVS?

Absolutely not. My whole point was PVS is not brain death. Therefore, this study should have no impact on organ procurement decisions.

There are times where withdrawal of care of a person in PVS would be appropriate -- but that would be based on a living will or family input with regard to what the patient wanted. Not because the doctor thinks it's time for the patient to die.

17 posted on 09/17/2006 10:29:35 AM PDT by Celtjew Libertarian ("Don't take life so seriously. You'll never get out of it alive." -- Bugs Bunny)
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To: Celtjew Libertarian
There are times where withdrawal of care of a person in PVS would be appropriate -- but that would be based on a living will or family input with regard to what the patient wanted. Not because the doctor thinks it's time for the patient to die.

And it's certainly not a judge's decision.

18 posted on 09/17/2006 10:56:40 AM PDT by wagglebee ("We are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom." -- President Bush, 1/20/05)
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To: wagglebee

I think the criteria for brain death is simple... liberals, socialists, greens, progressives, communists and Islamofascists. There should be plenty of spare organs to go around.


19 posted on 09/17/2006 10:58:34 AM PDT by Outland (Socialism IS the enemy.)
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To: wagglebee
Umm, I've got a brainstorm here.

Why don't we start asking the pro-aborts, Feminazi's, and similar fellow travellers about this?

You know, the "keep your laws off my body" crowd.

Game, set, and match.

Cheers!

20 posted on 09/17/2006 12:19:43 PM PDT by grey_whiskers
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To: wagglebee
Pinged from Terri SEPTEMBER Dailies

8mm

21 posted on 09/18/2006 4:16:43 AM PDT by 8mmMauser (Jezu ufam Tobie...Jesus I trust in Thee)
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To: Celtjew Libertarian
No doctor would declare a person in a vegetative state to be "brain dead."

You're right. That's an MSM error.

The pro-death crowd has had a method of dealing with the dilemma of patients who are merely PVS, not brain dead.

The ghouls can find relatives to "speak on behalf" of the PVS person, to tell a sympathetic judge that the patient does not want to be kept alive "that way."

Voila. The patient is killed and becomes brain (and body) dead.

22 posted on 09/18/2006 7:22:08 AM PDT by syriacus (Dems on the DEEP SIX COMMISSION have attempted to cover up Clinton administration's 911 mistakes.)
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To: Outland

LOL.


23 posted on 09/18/2006 7:22:56 AM PDT by syriacus (Dems on the DEEP SIX COMMISSION have attempted to cover up Clinton administration's 911 mistakes.)
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To: syriacus
The pro-death crowd has had a method of dealing with the dilemma of patients who are merely PVS, not brain dead.

The ghouls can find relatives to "speak on behalf" of the PVS person, to tell a sympathetic judge that the patient does not want to be kept alive "that way."

If the patient has given someone power of attorney ahead of time, as part of advance directives, the doctors can't just find anyone. In any case, these decisions are usually made by family consensus.

Or maybe the hospital I work for has a higher ethical standards than some.

The problem in the Schiavo case was that there was no written advanced directive and there was no family consensus.

24 posted on 09/18/2006 9:37:59 AM PDT by Celtjew Libertarian ("Don't take life so seriously. You'll never get out of it alive." -- Bugs Bunny)
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To: wagglebee

"Can we have your liver then?"


25 posted on 09/18/2006 9:40:38 AM PDT by RobRoy (Islam is more dangerous to the world now that Naziism was in 1937.)
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To: Celtjew Libertarian
If the patient has given someone power of attorney ahead of time, as part of advance directives, the doctors can't just find anyone. In any case, these decisions are usually made by family consensus.

You're right. I am my 90 years-old mother's health care proxy. I have been, since she moved across the country to live with my family, five years ago.

However, I'm not sure that my opinion about end of life issues is the same as that of my siblings.

Mom and I discussed her care quite a bit, around the time that Terri was killed.

My mother seemed almost surprised to learn that she was not practically obligated to die, if some medical problem came up. She also saw several shows on TV about end of life issues and learned that her church believes her life has value, even if she is unable to earn a living or do some other things she used to be able to do.

Some months ago Mom became weak, unable to sit up, and had pains in her neck and shoulders. It seemed her health might be going downhill. It turned out that she merely needed to stop taking her statin drug. How many people give up too soon, before an answer to their health problem is discovered?

I guess I'm trying to say that I think some people are being pushed into accepting a view that is biased toward "letting" people die before "their time" is really up.

26 posted on 09/18/2006 11:08:53 AM PDT by syriacus (Dems on the DEEP SIX COMMISSION have attempted to cover up Clinton administration's 911 mistakes.)
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