Denmark - brain dead accident victim woke up before organs were donated
#1
Culture of death watch.

Brain death isn't death.
A while ago I listened to this sermon titled Brain Dead: Dead Means the Soul Has Left the Body at AudioSancto.com regarding a  so-called brain dead woman giving birth 3 months AFTER her so-called brain death as well as other alarming medical trends. It's definitely worth listening to if you haven't already done so.


Story and video at DailyMail.co.UK The Girl Who Wouldn't Die... by Sara Malm

Story From National Right To Life News Denmark shocked by story of brain-dead donor’s recovery by Michael Cook

[Image: carinamelchior.jpg]

Quote:The world of organ donation in Denmark is in turmoil. A documentary was aired earlier this month which showed family members reacting in anguish to the news that their 19-year-old daughter was brain dead after a car accident, agreeing to donate her organs and allowing doctors to turn off her respirator. About 1.7 million viewers tuned in to the heart-rending drama.

But Carina Melchior did not die after her respirator was removed. She is now undergoing rehabilitation and may make a full recovery. About 500 people immediately removed their names from Denmark’s organ donor register.

Doctors at Aarhus University Hospital were embarrassed by the incident. “We are overjoyed that the young woman survived and that she is moving on after the accident,” Claus Thomsen, the hospital’s chief medical officer, said. “But we made a mistake underway and made the family believe that their daughter and sister would die.”

The hospital acknowledged that the question of organ donation should not have been raised as there were no unambiguous signs that brain death would occur. New guidelines have been introduced to ensure that relatives will only be approached about organ donation if no more treatment options are available. There was no risk of a false diagnosis of brain death, the hospital insisted.

I'm virtually speechless after reading this story and listening to the sermon again ...
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#2
I agree that there are serious moral issues here.

But just to argue the other side ... this was not a case of true 'brain death' where the person then woke up, is it? It sounds like a case where there was never brain death at all.  There was just a plain error.

The question I have about brain death is that if we can't use it as a criteria, what can we do to determine death? The traditional criteria are cardiopulmonary - no pulse/heartbeat, no breathing = dead. It has to be for a while, as these can stop and restart, but if you're not hypothermic and haven't been breathing and no pulse for many minutes, you're dead.

But what if you have a loss of organ function to the point that you'd certainly be dead by those cardiopulmonary criteria -- except that you are on a machine that is artifically keeping the heart/lungs going. Are you really still alive then?  What if testing shows there is no blood flow or oxxgen perfusion at all even to the brain stem let alone higher centers, and what if EEG shows absolutely now electrical activity at all?

Has someone woken up *from that*?

Errors in diagnosis, yes. Coma, yes. "Vegetative state," yes. But true brain death were the rules/criteria were followed?
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#3
I think that this in an area which the Church really needs to step up and educate people.  People are being led to believe that by donating organs they are relieving a burden from their family and helping another.  Rainbows and sunshine, right?  People are just too expendable when they don't believe in an eternal soul or go along with the idea that everybody goes to heaven except Hitler.  Humanities chickens are coming home to roost and only God and Our Lady can turn back the tide.   :((
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#4
Deo gratias

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#5
(11-21-2012, 03:49 PM)newyorkcatholic Wrote: I agree that there are serious moral issues here.

But just to argue the other side ... this was not a case of true 'brain death' where the person then woke up, is it? It sounds like a case where there was never brain death at all.  There was just a plain error.

The question I have about brain death is that if we can't use it as a criteria, what can we do to determine death? The traditional criteria are cardiopulmonary - no pulse/heartbeat, no breathing = dead. It has to be for a while, as these can stop and restart, but if you're not hypothermic and haven't been breathing and no pulse for many minutes, you're dead.

But what if you have a loss of organ function to the point that you'd certainly be dead by those cardiopulmonary criteria -- except that you are on a machine that is artifically keeping the heart/lungs going. Are you really still alive then?  What if testing shows there is no blood flow or oxxgen perfusion at all even to the brain stem let alone higher centers, and what if EEG shows absolutely now electrical activity at all?

Has someone woken up *from that*?

Errors in diagnosis, yes. Coma, yes. "Vegetative state," yes. But true brain death were the rules/criteria were followed?

Ignoring the fact that the Aristotelian - Thomistic truth on the soul utterly destroys the theory "brain death = death," the question really is how many times has this happen regarding a misdiagnosis? Or even a rushed diagnosis to harvest the person ASAP? Scary to think about.
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#6
(11-21-2012, 04:54 PM)TS Aquinas Wrote:
(11-21-2012, 03:49 PM)newyorkcatholic Wrote: I agree that there are serious moral issues here.

But just to argue the other side ... this was not a case of true 'brain death' where the person then woke up, is it? It sounds like a case where there was never brain death at all.  There was just a plain error.

The question I have about brain death is that if we can't use it as a criteria, what can we do to determine death? The traditional criteria are cardiopulmonary - no pulse/heartbeat, no breathing = dead. It has to be for a while, as these can stop and restart, but if you're not hypothermic and haven't been breathing and no pulse for many minutes, you're dead.

But what if you have a loss of organ function to the point that you'd certainly be dead by those cardiopulmonary criteria -- except that you are on a machine that is artifically keeping the heart/lungs going. Are you really still alive then?  What if testing shows there is no blood flow or oxxgen perfusion at all even to the brain stem let alone higher centers, and what if EEG shows absolutely now electrical activity at all?

Has someone woken up *from that*?

Errors in diagnosis, yes. Coma, yes. "Vegetative state," yes. But true brain death were the rules/criteria were followed?

Ignoring the fact that the Aristotelian - Thomistic truth on the soul utterly destroys the theory "brain death = death," the question really is how many times has this happen regarding a misdiagnosis? Or even a rushed diagnosis to harvest the person ASAP? Scary to think about.

To the first point: can you explain a bit? The reason for brain death criteria (and the reason the Church has at least in some documents said it can be used) is that someone can be on a respirator and therefore unable to be judged to be living or dead at all. True brain death (true cessation of *all* brain function*) is incompatible with life and as far as I know, when such patients are taken off of mechanical ventilation they do not start breathing on their own, because they really have died. This is not the same as coma or vegetative state, which is misunderstood and misjudged often.

To the second point: abusus non tollit usum.

I'm not sure what I'm advocating exactly, I'd have to study this further. But to anyone who says we should never use brain death criteria - so what do we use when a person could be on a respirator indefinitely, but may or may not be alive? How do we know?

BTW the article says: "The hospital acknowledged that the question of organ donation should not have been raised as there were no unambiguous signs that brain death would occur" ... I would agree this is terrible. Brain death was never diagnosed, the doctors just felt it was inevitable ... that's not a judgment we can make.

Morally, if we use brain death criteria, we should actually be certain that a patient is actually brain dead before treating the patient as dead.
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#7
I had previously bought into the noble lie about brain death. I never gave it much thought until I heard the sermon at Audio Sancto.

Also on the secular side of things, back in April the Wall Street Journal posted  What You Lose When You Sign That Donor Card by Dick Teresi who also wrote the book The Undead: Organ Harvesting, the Ice-Water Test, Beating Heart Cadavers--How Medicine Is Blurring the Line Between Life and Death [Hardcover] which I still have to read.

(11-21-2012, 03:59 PM)dymphna17 Wrote: I think that this in an area which the Church really needs to step up and educate people.  People are being led to believe that by donating organs they are relieving a burden from their family and helping another.  Rainbows and sunshine, right?  People are just too expendable when they don't believe in an eternal soul or go along with the idea that everybody goes to heaven except Hitler.  Humanities chickens are coming home to roost and only God and Our Lady can turn back the tide.   :((
Absolutely !!
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