Archives For Brain Death

Breakthrough

Wednesday night I went went some of my good friends to see the movie Breakthrough. I basically knew the storyline… that a 14 year old boy named John Smith had a miraculous recovery after being without oxygen for 45minutes.

Doctors confirmed the miracle.

A suburban St. Louis teenager who slipped through an icy lake last month and had no pulse for nearly 45 minutes after he was rescued has made a “miraculous” recovery, doctors said. In fact, 14-year-old John Smith’s health has improved so much since the Jan. 19 accident that doctors allowed him to go home Wednesday, NBC affiliate KSDKreported. “I knew there were a lot of people in my corner praying for me,” John, an eighth-grader from St. Charles, told the station.

Response

I thought it would be a feel good move, and it is IF you have NOT lost a child under similar circumstance. Not the drowning but the “critical, no hope diagnosis”.

For me personally Breakthrough was incredibly hard to watch. Every thing from the mom rubbing her son’s feet, (I did) to the medical staff talking negatively in front of her son (they did) to the praying of John Smiths classmates. (Lee University did) There was so many similarities that had I not been with good friends I would have had to walk out.

Breakthrough is Steven Curry’s, a professional basketball player for the Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association first film and I am sure it will be the start of his faith based film career. I hope so because in every other way it is an excellent film.

“John’s story is nothing short of incredible,” said Curry in a statement to THR. “It’s a story about the power of prayer and perseverance and one I immediately connected to. After reading the script, I knew I wanted to be a part of bringing it to life onscreen.”

Trailer

So go see the movie, but if you have lost a child be prepared for a lot of buried memories to pop up. I wish I did not having to experience the pain and memories all over again.

Seven years and yet the pain all comes back with a vengeance. Yet the power of prayer, miracles and God’s Sovereignty is all covered very well in the movie Breakthrough.

Happy Resurrection Day to all my followers.

Jamie Caulk 3/6/84 to 10/20/11

Life Site News Article

Definition of Irreversible Coma
A Definition of Irreversible Coma

LifeSite News Article

Is it morally permissible to harvest the organs of a person in a coma declared “brain dead” by doctors? 

Why and when did organ transplantation first come about?

And what is the Church’s teaching on using organs from a person deemed to be “brain dead”?

Doyen Nguyen, M.D., S.T.L., is a physician specialized in hematopathology and a moral theologian. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in theology at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in Rome. Her research is quite extensive and it is featured on https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5102188/

Doyen Nguyen during an in-depth interview with the Italian magazine Radici Cristiane (Link), where she blames a “consumerist culture” for causing many to accept the idea of “brain death,” a term she refers to as an incoherent, “medical fiction.

Nguyen refutes the invention of the term “brain death” to describe someone in an “irreversible coma” by arguing that the term “irreversible coma” itself “indicates that the patient is alive, for the simple reason that only a living person can become comatose or remain comatose. In other words, it would be an oxymoron to say that a corpse is in coma!”

When a doctor declares a comatose patient to be dead, that patient does not thereby become dead, she said. 

Well worth the time to read the entire article on LifeSite News.

Surprising Realty of Brain Death

This is a short video that speaks of one families hospital reality which is similar to what we experienced with my son, Jamie. Different outcome, their mom survived, but wow it is as if it is a movie script, that these OPO’s (Organ Procurement Organizations) are taught.

Surprising Realities of Brain Death

A couple of other things stood out to me in the article:

  1. The opening statement in the Harvard report which states: “Our primary purpose is to define irreversible coma as a new criterion for death.” Note however, the term “irreversible coma” itself indicates that the patient is alive, for the simple reason that only a living person can become comatose or remain comatose. In other words, it would be an oxymoron to say that a corpse is in coma!
  2. A nurse’s comment: What much of the public does not understand is that when they go into “harvest” those organs from a loved one, it will not be done after the person has physically died, (respirations and heart rate have both ceased, etc) or at a time when that person would no longer be capable of physically feeling that pain, but will be done when their body is still physically very much alive and they still will have the capacity to feel painful stimuli. The surgeons want “viable organs” and that means taking them when the host is still physically alive and tissue death has not yet set in or begun to happen. The thought of a loved one lying on that operating table, not able to speak, but very much feeling terrible pain as they are being dissected or cut into and their organs removed for harvesting is too terrible to even contemplate and I do not think that I would ever consent to such a thing for a loved one.

“Brain Death” is under scrutiny as more and more doctors understand that the public is becoming aware of the ethical, legal and medical controversies surrounding “brain death” and questions are being asked.

I haven’t given up on exposing the horrible diagnosis of “brain death” or my son’s story of what we went through.

T. Scott Marr’s children decided to pull the plug after he was declared brain dead. They said their final good-byes and were preparing his services.

But the “miracle man” had a different plan. After being unconscious for two days, he unexpectedly woke up after his doctors thought there was no hope of recovery and his breathing tubes were pulled out. Now, he’s recovering at home after weeks of therapy at an Omaha hospital.

The family was told he had a massive brain stem stroke with an associated swelling leading to anoxic brain injury. Each thing is detrimental alone & all combined is not survivable.

Sounds familiar, the same diagnosis they gave my son.

 

 

 

Source: Nebraska man says miraculous recovery after being declared brain dead is ‘proof’ of God | Fox News

Dead Enough? Organ Donation

Please don’t think I have forgotten about the horror of harvesting organs.

I came across this article and post from The Fifth Estate filmed about Canada but it is EXACTLY the same in the United States. In fact the United States was/is the leader and sets the standard for all other countries. In fact is was at Cleveland Clinic that first started using the Donation After Cardiac Death or DCD. 

Across the country, physicians involved in organ donation must adhere to what’s known as the ‘dead donor rule’. It seems simple – organs cannot be procured until after the donor has died.

EPISODE SYNOPSIS : It’s a question you might think medical science would have answered long ago – when are you dead? But in “Dead Enough” the fifth estate explores how the standards for when and how people are declared dead can vary from province to province and even from hospital to hospital. Host Bob McKeown looks at how, in the rush to meet the need for life-saving organ transplants, some doctors are worried that we may be pushing the ethical boundaries.

In the documentary Dead Enough, The Fifth Estate shares the stories of two families who both faced difficult decisions about organ donation, because their loved ones were not expected to survive severe brain injuries.

Sharon Thompson Daughter

When her daughter was critically injured and paralyzed in a car crash, for example, Sharon Thompson was at her bedside in a Calgary hospital around the clock.

Thompson says she was approached to consent to organ donation, and asked to consider taking her daughter off life support.

“When people are in an emotional state, I don’t think that’s the time to be asking those questions. Because the emotional roller-coaster we were on for, I would say, at least three of those six weeks … that’s not a great time to be having to make that decision too, because you’re not thinking,” she told McKeown.

Thompson chose not to take her daughter off life support, and Brandice Thompson made a remarkable recovery.

Shane Becker

Shane Becker, in Vancouver, BC.

His family was planning to donate his organs after the 25-year-old college student suffered a fall that severely injured his brain.

When his mother arrived at the Vancouver General Hospital, she said she was told that her son’s brain would soon stop functioning, and he would not recover.

As she was struggling with the news, she was approached by a hospital social worker. Donna Becker said she was asked to sign the organ donation certificate.

“I just made a decision to do so knowing Shane would’ve wanted me to,” she told McKeown.

But the decision to take Becker off life support had to be postponed. The family wanted to WAIT for his father, who had to drive from the BC interior to say his final goodbye.

While they were WAITING, Becker’s mother, a nurse, noticed a tiny change in her son.

“When we were all holding his hand, he did, there was definitely some change in his grasp. It became a little stronger, especially when we spoke to him,” she told McKeown. Because they were waiting Shane Becker is now 32, married and a father.

The debate over defining death has mostly been conducted in the medical community, out of public view. It is time to make the debate public. Excuse my sarcasm but good luck with that. Organ donation is a multi billion dollar industry.

 

Please take a few minutes and watch this video produced by CBC/Radio-Canada. Listen to both sides of the debate. You may have to decide for one of your loved ones. Informed consent is critical to making the best decision for your loved one.

Informed consent is given when the consented has an adequate understanding of the relevant facts, and voluntarily, without coercion, consents to some procedure.

 

“The motives are good, the means that are questionable or morally objectionable,” according to Mary Ellen Waithe, professor at Cleveland State University featured in the video at the 20 min mark. I beg you to watch at least 10 minutes of this to see what she discovered. Scary stuff, which will now cause me once again to dig out Jamie’s medical records and see if he was given Heparin. (encourages the brain bleed) Listen to the transcript that she discovered between transplant surgeons at Cleveland Clinic. Crazy…

I completely lost it when I listened to Shane’s own words, saying he was floating above his bed, saw his family weeping and crying and saying, “guy’s I’m here, I’m trying, I’m fighting, I just can’t communicate with you.”He stated he was there cognitively, I was frustrated I couldn’t communicate with them. ”

Jamie in the hospital

Shane, young, smart, strong athletic prime candidate for organ donation. Fighting to communicate with his family. Can you imagine what would have happened IF his dad had not been out-of-town and was traveling to get there to say his good-byes?

  Oh God, my son Jamie let us know is so many ways he was fighting. 

And this is why I write and share because I don’t want anyone to not understand about brain death.

Jamie Caulk 

Brain scans

5o Years

50 years ago, an ad hoc Harvard Medical School committee declared that patients in an “irreversible coma” were dead from a legal and ethical point of view. By irreversible coma, the committee had in mind “comatose individuals who have no discernible central nervous system activity”. In making this pronouncement, the committee was seeking to resolve a series of ethical and legal questions that had arisen since the advent of positive pressure ventilation and research into vital organ procurement.

The criterion was rapidly enshrined in law around the US and, indeed, the globe, and it became the most common standard by which vital organ procurement and the withdrawal of treatment were regulated.

Yet 50 years on, the brain death criterion for death is under intense criticism, with several high profile legal cases in the US calling into question the claim that brain dead patients are really dead.

Doctor’s Question

In two recent JAMA articles (one co-authored with lawyer Thaddeus Pope and psychiatrist David S. Jones), Harvard Medical School’s Robert Truog evaluates the brain death criterion, arguing that, while the rationale behind the brain death criterion is defensible, it nevertheless lacks philosophical justification.

Truog states that the brain death criterion was intended to provide a clear biological criterion in which we could ground our legal definition death. The law needs black and white distinctions, and brain death provides one such distinction:

The law necessarily depends on bright-line determinations to standardize many important societal distinctions, such as when a person becomes an adult, when a person is blind, and when a person is dead…By drawing a bright line at the level of permanent unconsciousness and ventilator dependence, the [Uniform Determination of Death Act]* has defined when a person should be considered dead, making it permissible for the person to be an organ donor if they wish and making it permissible for the health care system to refuse to continue to provide the patient with life support.

Yet Truog also observes that “attempts to find a conceptual justification for linking this diagnosis (i.e., brain death) to the death of the patient remain incomplete”. He recounts how neurologist Alan Shewmon has shown that virtually every function undertaken by a healthy living body can be carried by a brain dead person on a ventilator. He also questions the 2008 attempt by the President’s Council for Bioethics to define death in terms of the absence of the “fundamental vital work of a living organism”. While xenotransplantation and 3D printing may one day provide a solution to organ shortages, the brain death criterion will remain for some time a source of spirited debate.

*The Uniform Determination of Death Act is a 1981 act adopted by most US states according to which “An individual who has sustained either (1) irreversible cessation of circulatory and respiratory functions, or (2) irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem, is dead”.

Link to original story.

On a personal note: The brain scan above was what caught my attention because Jamie’s had blood flow and the radiologist said, “there is blood flow”.  Vanderbilt said, “oh, we expected to find some blood flow”.

Then why didn’t they give him more time? Will I ever get over this? 

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