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Stop Harvesting Organs after ‘Cardiac Death,’ Say MDs
LifeSiteNews ^ | 9/15/10 | Patrick B. Craine

Posted on 09/16/2010 4:07:35 PM PDT by wagglebee

CALGARY, Alberta, September 15, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A group of doctors have called on the medical community to cease harvesting organs from patients whose hearts have stopped pulsating, saying that doctors are misleading families to believe that the patient has died when in fact their loved one is still alive.

The story was featured Wednesday on the cover of Canada's National Post.

“A longstanding tenet of ethical organ donation [is] that the nonliving donor must be irreversibly dead at the time of donation,” explain the eight paediatric intensive care specialists, writing in Pediatric Critical Care Medicine.

The doctors say that the public’s “underlying assumption” when they agree to donate organs is that “they are giving permission to have their organs removed after they are dead.”

But the authors observe that “death” has been redefined in the last few decades to meet the demand for more organs.  They say organs were originally taken from “cadaveric donors who died in the conventional way, irreversibly losing all electrical and mechanical activity from the heart (circulation) and all brain function, despite medical efforts to save them.”

But “this method of organ procurement created a problem for organ transplantation.” “If the patient died in the conventional way then, at the time of irreversibility, so did most organs.”

The notion of “brain death” was created in 1981 in order to harvest more organs, they say.  Then in 1991 the Pittsburgh Protocol was developed to allow doctors to harvest the organs of adults after a person’s heart has stopped for a certain period.

The Protocol involves removing the person from life support for 30 to 60 minutes.  If the patient’s heart continues to beat after that time, they are returned to the ICU, but if it stops for a prescribed period (around 2 minutes, though ranging from 75 seconds to 10 minutes depending on the jurisdiction), the organs are harvested.

“No efforts are made to assess the patient’s brain function at the time of organ removal,” the authors explain.  “The claim is that circulation has irreversibly stopped after 2 mins of observation.”

But this ignores the many reports of the “Lazarus phenomenon,” where a patient’s heart starts again 5 to 10 minutes after CPR is performed.  Such instances suggest that “the heart function and circulation may not be irreversibly stopped in DCD [‘Donation after Cardiac Death’] patients at the time of organ procurement.”

The authors also point out that doctors’ desire to prolong lives through organ transplants can “foster physician and institutional bias” for the cardiac death criteria.

While opposing the notion of "cardiac death", the authors accept organ harvesting following "brain death".  Opponents of "brain death" point out that organs can only be harvested when the organ's functioning continues, meaning that the donor is still showing signs of life.  They say that if the person is truly dead, the unpaired vital organs cannot be transplanted.  In particular, "brain death" has allowed heart transplants, but the heart is only useful if it is still beating in the donor.

Akin to the "Lazarus phenomenon" noted by the authors, there have been numerous instances of patients recovering following a declaration of "brain death".

The National Post interviewed Dr. Ari Joffe, the sole Canadian author of the controversial document, from Stollery Children’s Hospital in Calgary.  “I think that we’re being less than entirely honest about when the patient is truly dead,” he said. “We’re not trying to deny the parent the choice to donate … The point we’re making is ‘what if they’re almost dead and we’re not sure if they’re dead, and it’s not at the point of irreversibility yet?’”

See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:

Melbourne Doctor: Most Donors Still Alive when Organs are Removed
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/oct/08102105.html

New England Journal of Medicine: 'Brain Death' is not Death
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/aug/08081406.html

Doctors Who Almost Dissected Living Patient Confess Ignorance about Actual Moment of Death
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/jun/08061308.html

Doctor Says about "Brain Dead" Man Saved from Organ Harvesting - "Brain Death is Never Really Death"
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/mar/08032709.html

Denver Coroner Rules "Homicide" in Organ-Donor Case
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2004/oct/04101208.html

Russian Surgeons Removing Organs Saying Patients Almost Dead Anyway
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2003/sep/03090906.html

Shock: Oxford Neonatologist Says Time Has Come to Consider “Mandatory Organ Donation”
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/oct/08102413.html



TOPICS: Canada; Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: moralabsolutes; organharvesting; prolife
“I think that we’re being less than entirely honest about when the patient is truly dead,” he said.

That's because organ harvesting is a huge BUSINESS that preys on the emotions of the most vulnerable.

1 posted on 09/16/2010 4:07:39 PM PDT by wagglebee
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To: cgk; Coleus; cpforlife.org; narses; Salvation; 8mmMauser

Pro-Life Ping


2 posted on 09/16/2010 4:08:27 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; Amos the Prophet; ...
Moral Absolutes Ping!

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

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3 posted on 09/16/2010 4:09:39 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


4 posted on 09/16/2010 4:10:58 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

If we want the healthiest organs for transplanting, why even bother with people who are dying? Why not just grab a jogger from the park?

I think most people would want to donate their organs, if there was any reasonable expectation that the doctors would wait until we’re done using them. Instead, the ghouls are becoming more and more impatient.


5 posted on 09/16/2010 4:19:39 PM PDT by BykrBayb (Somewhere, my flower is there. ~ Ʋ)
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To: wagglebee
That's because organ harvesting is a huge BUSINESS that preys on the emotions of the most vulnerable.

It is, and many of the "professionals" in it operate on the fringes of medical ethics. Don't sign your organ donor card.
6 posted on 09/16/2010 4:22:13 PM PDT by Yet_Again
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To: BykrBayb

You didn’t read the article. If you are truly dead, your organs are useless for transplant.

Also, if you are over 30, they don’t want your organs anyway.

basically, it’s been a scam from the beginning.


7 posted on 09/16/2010 4:37:41 PM PDT by mamelukesabre (Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum (If you want peace prepare for war))
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To: mamelukesabre

Oh gee, I guess I’ve never read any of this before. LOL

Looks like you missed the point. And in case you were wondering, no, I don’t really think we should grab joggers from the park and steal their organs.


8 posted on 09/16/2010 4:42:40 PM PDT by BykrBayb (Somewhere, my flower is there. ~ Ʋ)
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To: wagglebee

I was an organ donor until a transplant doc explained to me that if the body is dead in the conventional sense the organs are mostly worthless (lens and corneas do okay). So what actually kills the donor is the transplant team taking the organs. He told me this in 1989.


9 posted on 09/16/2010 4:53:05 PM PDT by Vor Lady
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To: BykrBayb

half your braincells have already been harvested, havn’t they?


10 posted on 09/16/2010 4:58:41 PM PDT by mamelukesabre (Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum (If you want peace prepare for war))
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To: wagglebee
But this ignores the many reports of the “Lazarus phenomenon,” where a patient’s heart starts again 5 to 10 minutes after CPR is performed. Such instances suggest that “the heart function and circulation may not be irreversibly stopped in DCD [‘Donation after Cardiac Death’] patients at the time of organ procurement.”

I actually witnessed this ..A female pt of mine had no heart activity and was "coded" for about 15 min.. The Doctor called her death time, and went to notify the family and make out the paper work.. as I was removing the lines and washing her for the family to see..she had a seizure.. the doctor returned and cursed that he could not do the paper work.... The lady was sitting up and answering my questions following the seizure.. Today they would have grabbed her kidneys and corneas and maybe her heart.. I would NEVER sign a donors card.. Never

11 posted on 09/16/2010 5:26:25 PM PDT by RnMomof7 (Jhn 8:43 Why do ye not understand my speech? [even] because ye cannot hear my word.)
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To: RnMomof7

I will never sign a donor card. I have a medical directive that allows for my organs to be taken, but it is very specific regarding the definition of death and only allows for the donation if the hospital accepts my definition.


12 posted on 09/16/2010 5:31:20 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

No oxygen and no red blood cells after a cardiac arrest.


13 posted on 09/16/2010 5:32:08 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: wagglebee

I saw a Quincy TV show decades ago - even though they probably didn’t intend it, they made it clear that signing an organ donor card was playing Russian Roulette.


14 posted on 09/16/2010 5:37:45 PM PDT by BobL (The whole point of being human is knowing when the party's over.)
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To: RnMomof7

I have not only told everyone, but also included in my Living Will exactly how I feel about this.

If my organs did not work well enough to keep me alive, then they have no business being put in anyone else.


15 posted on 09/16/2010 5:55:21 PM PDT by Petruchio (I Think . . . Therefor I FReep.)
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To: Petruchio

Good thought..:)


16 posted on 09/16/2010 6:19:29 PM PDT by RnMomof7 (Jhn 8:43 Why do ye not understand my speech? [even] because ye cannot hear my word.)
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To: wagglebee
This is why my wife and I do not sign organ donor cards. My cousin had to have a kidney transplant, and got one from his sister. At a little party he had, I met his transplant nurse. She said she would only work on transplants like his for now on because of the practices of the organ harvesters.
17 posted on 09/16/2010 6:51:57 PM PDT by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: wagglebee

18 posted on 09/16/2010 6:59:04 PM PDT by listenhillary (A 50% cut of federal spending would be a good place to start.)
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To: wagglebee

I personally went through this HELL in 2003.


19 posted on 09/17/2010 12:00:48 AM PDT by machogirl (First they came for my tagline.)
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To: RnMomof7

One of my patients on cardiac telemetry showed a normal sinus rhythm even though there was no heartbeat or breathing for >10 mins. The patient was apparently dead, the family had been with him when he died, and he did not recover (cancer death). The ER doc, who came to the floor to pronounce him, waited, had a cup of coffee, read some charts, then when the ECG finally flatlined, wrote the time of death.

I think that the Lazarus syndrome, which has been well known for centuries if not millennia, is why babies who are apparently born dead may be validly baptized. Time of death is a very inexact determination, in my experience.


20 posted on 09/17/2010 12:16:29 AM PDT by Judith Anne (Holy Mary, Mother of God, please pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.)
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To: Judith Anne

That is interesting Judith.. thanks.. I too have heard of babies that seemed to come to life after being “stillborn”...and that is a logical reason for the baptism question
Thanks


21 posted on 09/17/2010 5:59:13 AM PDT by RnMomof7 (Jhn 8:43 Why do ye not understand my speech? [even] because ye cannot hear my word.)
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To: All
Pinged from Terri Dailies


22 posted on 09/19/2010 11:14:19 AM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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