Today makes 8 years since my son, Jamie went to heaven. No matter how you are moving along in life, as the calendar creeps toward October, a sadness overwhelms my heart.
If you haven’t listened to my son’s song, it is on the right hand column on this blog. Jamie wrote and recorded all his songs and this one is so prophetic.
8 in the bible means new beginnings. Jesus created the world in 7 days and rested on the 7th. On the 8th day it was a new beginning. I’ve been thinking about the number 8 a lot this week, pondering if it has meaning for my family since Jamies journey to heaven
Bobby Reyes is the 14 year old boy who was disconnected from life-support on Tuesday, October 15th. at Mott’s Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor.
October 15th is the day we received our first brain dead diagnosis at Vanderbilt. Of course it was overturned and more tests were done. Tests like the Apnea which we did not know were harmful for my son and yet the “gold standard” for pronouncing “brain death.”
The blood flow that they “said” would show NO blood flow but with thousands praying for a positive blood flow test, there was blood flow. It was so obvious and the technician administrating the test looked at me and smiled and said there was blood flow. But, Vanderbilt back-tracked and said “well, we expected some blood flow…it’s just not in the right place.”
OK, so why didn’t you say that?
Yesterday, I drove to Flat Rock to pay my respects to Bobby Reyes and his family. The first person I walked in to was Sarah, Bobby’s mom.
After expressing my condolences, I told her that 8 years ago tomorrow was when my son, Jamie went to heaven.
She said, “well you know exactly what I am going through”.
Yes, grieving mom’s KNOW.
Child loss is like no other grief. Here we are at 8 years and I’m still holding on.
Bobby and Jamie have seen it ALL. Jesus and heaven in all it’s glory. A hope that we all long for while living on earth.
Randy Alcorn, who’s book Heaven changed my life says it this way.
I think of our lives in terms of a dot and a line, signifying two phases. Our present life on earth is the dot. It begins. It ends. It’s brief. However, from the dot, a line extends that goes on forever. That line is eternity, which Christians will spend in heaven. Right now we’re living in the dot. But what are we living for? The shortsighted person lives for the dot. The person with perspective lives for the line.
I have no idea what God has in store for me or Sarah, but I know God’s plan will not be thwarted.
I think of Tammi Carr who lost her son, Chad Carr and started a ChadTough Foundation and is now raising money for pediatric research into DIPG, (Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma).
To date, The ChadTough Foundation has raised more than $9 million to support pediatric brain cancer research, with an emphasis on DIPG.
The amazing work of a grieving mother, working to help save other children and parents from the loss she and her family endure without Chad.
Sarah, told me yesterday she wants to work on a Bobby’s Law to prevent hospitals from unplugging their children or loved ones from a ventilator until enough time is allowed to see if they will recover. She mentioned 30 days, which is interesting because I have told my own kids IF I am ever on a ventilator to allow 30 days to see if I will recover and then let me go.
This sounds reasonable to me. See not forever but time.
I told Sarah, I wanted to include in Bobby’s Law that parents be told what the Apnea test is and does. Why should hospitals be allowed to say, “we’re going to do one more test” without explaining exactly WHAT the test is?
You believe sitting there with a loved one hooked up to multiple machines every test is for benefit of your loved one, to help them get better. NOT TRUE.
I know some parents just go along with whatever the doctors say, never question and that is their choice. But…there are some parents who do question and want to delay pulling the plug to give more time for the brain to heal. That number is growing and this MUST be addressed and changed.
Of course THIS will be a huge undertaking but we do serve a big God who is well able to do above all we could ask or think.
Jamie, my sweet boy who was smart, talented, athletic with a tender heart towards animals and everyone. NOT one day goes by that I don’t think about you and miss you terribly.
Excerpts from article on LifeSiteNews.com. I encourage you to go read the ENTIRE article there by Diane Montagna.
I am excerpting this here because we recently had a traumatic event in Ann Arbor at Motts Children’s Hospital at Michigan Medicine. A 14 year old boy named Bobby was taken off life support against the request of his parents.
The original lawyer filed the stay in the WRONG court.
By the time they hired Bill negotiations were ongoing with U of M to give them time to find a replacement hospital to take Bobby. The hospital that had agreed changed their mind and they had to start over and had ONLY 2 days.
Judge Swartz had no authority to give a stay, both parties U of M and Bobby’s attorney agreed on this.
Judge Swartz didn’t have legal authority to rule one way or the other. The court that the attorney had to file in is called the Court of Common Complaints and was an hour and a half away. They would not let Bobby’s attorney file via fax or email or pay with a credit card.
So U of M did the 2nd brain death test, pronounced him dead and pulled Bobby OFF the ventilator. TRAGIC and HEARTBREAKING.
However, and I have been trying to say this in a gentle way to people who are upset with U of M.
THERE IS NOT A HOSPITAL IN THE US WHO WOULD HAVE DONE ANY DIFFERENT.
They are following the Uniform Determination of Death Act, go read it. The UDDA granted hospitals the ability to set up their own protocols. But they are all very similar.
The Uniform Determination of Death Act (UDDA), drafted in 1980 by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws to provide “comprehensive bases for determining death in all situations,” determined death by the following criteria:
“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. A determination of death must be made in accordance with accepted medical standards.”
The only way to change tragedies like Bobby and my son Jamie is to: 1) Educate the public on what “brain death.” is vs TRUE DEATH. 2) Change the law
In the meantime, get off the organ register. Thankfully my son was NOT on it, had he been they could have legally harvested them anyway because they see it as a legally, binding contract.
Parents have no say, if your child has signed. NONE
A respected Brazilian neurologist, Dr. Cicero Coimbra, is seeking to blow the lid off the “brain death” myth, saying it is being perpetuated to supply an international multi-billion-dollar transplant industry.
Doctor Cicero G. Coimbra, MD PhD, a neurologist and professor of neuroscience at the Federal University of São Paulo, Brazil, has also said recovery for comatose patients is often possible, but a tightly controlled medical establishment is not giving doctors and medical students the facts they need to “do the best they can” for their patients.
By the 1980s, when organ transplants were performed around the world, medical researchers experimenting on animals discovered that when blood flow to the brain is reduced from the normal range to just 20-50 percent, the brain would “fall silent” — but was neither “dead” nor “irreversibly damaged.” By the end of the 1990s, this phenomenon — called “ischemic penumbra” — was demonstrated in humans, shattering the “brain death” myth.
The brain is silent but not dead, he said.
“Why is the ‘brain death’ theory still so prevalent, and what are students in medical school being taught about this?” LifeSite asked Dr. Coimbra.
“In a very large number of those patients, they have no damage at all — no brain damage at all — they just have a silent brain,” he added.
To compound the problem, Dr. Coimbra said the standard test used for screening “brain death” — called the “apnea test” — can actually induce irreversible brain damage to an already comatose patient, by reducing the blood and oxygen to the brain for 10 minutes.
Dr. Coimbra said he has seen firsthand that there is hope for patients who have been labeled “brain dead.” If doctors would simply replace three essential (thyroid and adrenal) hormones, “the normal circulation to the brain would be restored,” he explained. But when these hormones are not replaced, the patient progresses “into a disaster.”
The problem is that one of the tests used to diagnose “brain death” — called the “apnea test” — involves switching off the respirator. You disconnect the respirator for 10 minutes. When you do that, the high level of carbon dioxide increases sharply. This in turn further increases intracranial pressure and may decrease arterial pressure. So, you increase the compression on the brain vessels and you decrease the pressure within the brain vessels during the apnea test.
What was the purpose of the apnea test?
The aim of the apnea test is to demonstrate that the patient cannot breathe on his own.
But imagine for a moment: the respirator is disconnected from the lungs for 10 minutes. In order to breathe on your own, you need your respiratory centers in your brain to be working. They control the diaphragm and the respiratory muscles in general. If you switch off the respirator, and there is no breathing for 10 minutes, they say: “Ok, you see, this is one more piece of evidence that the patient is dead, because he cannot breathe on his own.” The apnea test is considered the fundamental test to diagnose “brain death.” No medical doctor anywhere in the world would diagnose “brain death” without doing this test. So, whenever you hear that a certain patient has been diagnosed as “brain dead,” you know that the apnea test has been performed.
Why isn’t the apnea test legitimate?
It’s not legitimate. Actually, it disrupts the most basic concepts of medicine. For instance, imagine if I prevent you from breathing for 10 minutes, what will happen? You will die.
But in this case, a respirator is helping the person to breathe.
You can actually destroy the respiratory centers — as you can damage all parts of the brain — by further reducing the blood flow during the apnea test. Forty percent of the patients who are submitted to the apnea test have a major drop in their blood flow, in their blood pressure. Blood pressure is the pressure that is within the arteries; it’s the pressure that provides the driving force to maintain circulation in the brain. So, when you perform the apnea test, you may actually induce irreversible damage to the brain when you were only supposed to diagnose irreversible brain damage.
Read more on Dr. Combra’s discussion on what happened to him, what hormones are necessary to treat a patient who’s brain has gone silent but not dead. What does the medical community think?
Huffington Post has an article today on Remembering Jahi McMath the person who died twice.
I don’t usually respond to posts on Social Media where I am waiting to be attacked but this is how I responded.
“Brain death” and “organ donation” are terms used by the medical community in order to convince people they are giving “the gift of life”. However, you can NOT take organs from a truly dead person or what is known as a cadaver. The body needs to have a beating heart to maintain organ health.
Die in a car accident on the side of the road, your organs are useless.
You state in your article that “renowned cases where people with “brain death” came back to life, I realized that these cases were not actually brain death stories.”
Perhaps you neglected to read of Zach Dunlap, who was actually on the operating table to have his organs harvested when it was discovered he was not dead. Too much to write her but there are plenty of examples out there.
Yes “brain death” is a legal definition of death but ONLY since the Harvard Criteria was written in 1968 and confirmed into law by states in 1980.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the patients with severe brain trauma are pronounced “brain dead” in order to harvest their organs. If you really want us to accept death then take patients off the ventilator and let them die naturally.
But you are advocating keeping them alive to use those vital organs in another patient.
Personally, IF someone wants to donate their organs I have no problem with it IF they it is explained to them that they are not truly dead, dead. You are still very much alive when your organs are excised and they are NOT given anesthesia to prohibit the pain.
You said, “I was also amazed by the popular support shown by EMOTIONAL people”
I am NOT emotional person, just have done my research that brain death is a LEGAL, medical fiction constructed to harvest organs of not truly dead people. Unfortunately people don’t research until it hits their loved one.
If you are against the legal, medical fiction called “brain death” add your thoughts over there.
It is hard to believe THIS (organs stolen) happened in America. Veteran dies in jail and when he is returned to his family his brain, heart and throat were gone.
Two days after Army veteran Everett Palmer Jr. turned himself into Pennsylvania authorities in April 2018 for a DUI-related arrest warrant, he was dead. It’s been over a year since he passed, but his family is still searching for answers.
“When we reached out to find out what happened to his organs, they initially lied,” Palmer’s brother Dwayne Palmer told Spectrum News NY1. “They directed us back to our funeral director and told us that we need to confer with them because they probably took the organs.”
Palmer’s brother has told reporters that he suspects Everett’s death was a homicide.
An attorney working with the family said that this “makes no sense, unless you’re trying to maybe avoid people knowing how he died.” Marlon Kirton, the attorney, reportedly suggested that death could have been the result of asphyxiation.
The family has rejected the possibility that Palmer took drugs in prison or that he would have slammed his head into his cell. His mother, Rose Palmer, told reporters that her son “was not a troublemaker.”
Why would he have turned himself in, who gave him meth in jail?
According to court documents, Everett crashed a Honda Accord in Codorus Township just after 2 a.m. in October 2016. After failing to respond to a court summons, the judge on his case issued a warrant for Palmer’s arrest in January 2017.
Dwayne said that when Everett moved to Delaware, he didn’t know there was a warrant out for him. When he found out, he turned himself in to police. He was arrested and taken to another precinct to the York County Prison.
Of course don’t forget the story of Kendrick Johnson from Georgiaalso returned with his organs missing. “When forensic pathologist Bill Anderson received Kendrick’s body before performing a second autopsy, all of Kendrick’s internal organs — including his brain, his heart, and his lungs — were missing, as first reported by CNN.”
It’s been a year since Palmer passed away in police custody, and the family is still searching for answers, rejecting the explanations provided thus far. Much more on Justice for Everett Facebook page.
These days not a lot makes me sick or shocked, but this does.
Mary Keebler, MD, of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, who was not involved in the study. “It adds on to prior literature showing that the outcome with organs from these higher risk donors are just as good as in our donor pool from lower risk donors. It also highlights really nicely just the number of potential donors that we could be using that we aren’t using to get our patients transplanted,” Keebler told MedPage Today.
“These are younger donors, their hearts are arguably better quality than some of the non-opioid related death donors that we are using. So I think that we as a field just need to strongly consider using these organs to help our patients, because there’s really very little downside at this point,” Keebler said.
What about doing everything possible to keep the overdose victim alive?
The “dead donor rule” – a person must be dead before their vital organs are extracted for transplantation – is the basic principle guiding organ donation. A dead body is a corpse. Excising vital organs from a corpse does no harm. But, if we are not certain the individual is dead, removing vital organs is a grave matter.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (2296) states: “… it is not morally admissible directly to bring about the disabling mutilation or death of a human being, even in order to delay the death of other persons.” Furthermore, even though Pope John Paul II stated that organ donation is an act of charity, in Evangelium Vitae (n. 15) he cautioned: “Nor can we remain silent in the face of other more furtive, but no less serious and real forms of euthanasia. These could occur for example when, in order to increase the availability of organs for transplants, organs are removed without respecting objective and adequate criteria which verify the death of the donor.”
We have been asked, “How and why does HALO differ from the National Catholic Bioethics Center’s position on ‘brain death’ and the use of ‘brain dead’ individuals as organ donors?” This paper is HALO’s answer.
HALO’s position is that a diagnosis of brain death does not mean that it is morally (or scientifically) certain the person is dead. Therefore, the practice of removing vital organs from “brain dead” individuals should be suspended and alternative means for extending the lives of individuals with failing organs should be pursued.
The National Catholic Bioethics Center’s Position
The NCBC’s most well-known authority on brain death, Father Tad Pacholczyk, makes four assertions:
1. “The [brain dead] individual has undergone a traumatic event resulting in the complete and irreversible cessation of all brain functions.”
2. “Brain dead individuals cannot be kept going on machines forever. In fact, there is usually a period of only a few days that it may be possible to extend the functioning of their organs by keeping them on a ventilator.” He suggests that “somebody is likely to have cut some corners in carrying out the testing and diagnosis” in cases where individuals have survived for months or years after a brain death diagnosis.
3. “Genuinely brain-dead individuals never ‘wake up.”
4. “Defining brain death as the irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brain, including the brainstem, is compatible with a Christian understanding of the true nature of man.” 
We do not disagree with Father Pacholczyk’s fourth assertion. However, after diligently searching for the answer to our question (this paper’s title), we have reached an uncomfortable conclusion: If physicians wait long enough to be certain that all functions of the entire brain have irreversibly ceased – that is, that the person is truly dead – the deceased person’s organs will have begun to deteriorate and therefore will not be transplantable. If the goal is to salvage healthy organs, haste is of the essence in determining brain death. Haste can lead to cutting corners and to errors. Also, as Pope John Paul II suggested, furtive euthanasia may occur as a means of increasing the supply of transplantable organs. (This is a reasonable concern since organ transplantation is a very lucrative business and “the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil…” – 1 Timothy 6:10).
To address Father’s first assertion, it is necessary to ask a question. How is it possible to establish “the complete and irreversible cessation of all brain functions” when the person is exhibiting signs that some parts of the brain are functioning – signs which we can see with our own eyes?
Should We Believe Our Senses?
When our senses tell us someone is alive, but doctors tell us he is dead, what are we to believe? Two things which contradict each other cannot both be true. A human being is either alive or dead.
Before organ transplantation was possible, physicians made every effort to judge the moment of death in the direction of protecting life from a death-dealing mistake. Circulation and respiration had irreversibly ceased – the body was cold, blue and stiff. Our senses told us that the person was dead.
Brain death is declared while the patient has a beating heart because removal of vital organs must be done before they begin to deteriorate due to loss of circulation. We bury dead people, but we would never bury a person with a beating heart because we know that a beating heart is a sign of life. Also, consider these facts:
A person can be pronounced “brain dead” while he or she has a normal pulse, blood pressure, color and temperature. All signs of life.
“Brain dead” people digest food.
“Brain dead” children grow.
“Brain dead” pregnant women have gestated and delivered healthy babies and produced milk.
“Brain dead” patients’ wounds heal.
During the excision of organs, the donor is sometimes given paralyzing drugs to control muscle spasms; the heart rate increases, and blood pressure shoots up. Dead people don’t move or react to pain in these ways.
The legal definition of brain death is “the irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem.” Yet “brain dead” patients display signs that their brains retain many essential functions. 
Pursuing the Truth Wherever It Leads
If a person who has been determined to be brain dead is truly dead, then our senses are deceiving us.
There are good people who support vital organ donation after a determination of brain death and good people who oppose it. It is not HALO’s purpose to judge anyone who has decided to donate organs or to undergo transplant surgery. We do, however, strongly suggest that people consider all the evidence before making these decisions and prior to taking a position on this crucial moral issue.
Renowned theologian Christian Brugger believes there is reasonable doubt that “brain dead” bodies are dead and concludes, “Since we should not treat as corpses what for all we know might be living human beings, it follows that we have an obligation to treat BD individuals as if they were living human beings.” Dr. Paul Byrne and other experts in the fields of medicine, philosophy, and theology explain why they maintain that “‘Brain Death’ is Not Death” in an illuminating essay by that name.  HALO highly recommends reading this brief, yet thorough set of arguments against using neurological criteria alone to determine death.
John Haas, President of the NCBC, says that those who express doubt or deny that brain death is true death “create confusion in the minds of a number of the faithful” and “run the risk of unsettling the consciences of the faithful on a life-and-death ethical matter for which the authentic magisterium of the Church has provided clear guidance.” However, we find Church guidance on this matter to be anything but clear and interpretations of Church guidance vary widely. Brugger, Byrne, Pacholczyk, and Haas are just a few of the many Catholic experts who express differing positions on “brain death.” (Perhaps this is a topic for another paper.)
The evidence HALO has thus far examined leads us to agree with the experts who say we cannot be morally certain that a person who has been declared “brain dead” is truly dead before their organs are removed. But we will never cease our search for the truth. At the very least, those who believe brain death is death should concede that this is one diagnosis where doctors need to be correct 100% of the time – and, for the sake of all who trust them, admit that there is a growing body of evidence that this diagnosis is not accurate in at least some cases, and perhaps in many cases.
Father Pacholczyk asserts, “Genuinely brain-dead individuals never ‘wake up.'” Every time a recovery occurs after a determination of brain death we are told the diagnosis was wrong; that perhaps corners were cut in testing, or mistakes were made, or the person doing the testing was not qualified, etc. Thus, how can anyone know for certain that a person is “genuinely brain-dead?” The only way is to wait and see.
People who have been determined to be “brain dead” using the most rigorous neurological criteria have awakened and recovered. It is safe to say that they would not have recovered had they been stripped of their vital organs before their injured brains could begin to heal. Here are two cases in point.
Trenton McKinley, a 13-year old Alabama boy, was declared brain dead after suffering skull fractures and a traumatic brain injury in March 2018. He reportedly passed all the tests for determining brain death. His mother signed papers to donate his organs. Fortunately, he regained consciousness before his vital organs were removed. Trenton was taken off the ventilator and eventually went home. He is now conscious, walking and talking. 
In 2007, Zach Dunlap, a 21-year old Oklahoman, flipped over on his 4-wheeler and suffered catastrophic brain injuries. Thirty-six hours after his accident, doctors at United Regional Healthcare System in Wichita Falls, Texas determined he was “brain dead.” They had subjected Zach to a battery of tests including a scan that showed a complete absence of blood flow to the brain. Preparations to harvest his organs were underway when a relative scraped the bottom of his foot with a pocket knife and he jerked his foot away. Just months later, Zack was walking and talking. He recalled hearing a doctor say he was dead and being “mad inside” but unable to move. 
On December 9, 2013, 13-year old Jahi McMath underwent surgery to remove her tonsils and adenoids at a children’s hospital in Oakland, California. Shortly thereafter, she started to bleed and suffered cardiac arrest. She was declared “brain dead” three days later. Her family disagreed with the diagnosis and fought for Jahi’s life when the hospital sought to remove her life-support. Keeping her alive required moving her to New Jersey.
Bobby Schindler, President of the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network (https://www.lifeandhope.com/), explains: “After Jahi was ruled to be brain dead, she and her family found themselves in an incredible situation wherein Jahi was considered legally dead in California, but legally alive in New Jersey due to that state’s religious accommodations.” Jahi’s mother took excellent care of her at home. Jahi breathed with the aid of a ventilator. She responded appropriately to commands and underwent pubertal development. Her true death occurred on June 22, 2018. Her death certificate, completed by the NJ physician treating Jahi, listed her cause of death as bleeding as a result of liver failure.
Various news outlets subsequently reported that Jahi McMath had died, underscoring the fact that Jahi was a living human being for four and a half years after being issued a death certificate in California.  To learn more about Jahi’s condition read “The Case of Jahi McMath: A Neurologists’ View” by D. Alan Shewmon, The Hastings Center Report, December 25, 2018 (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/hast.962).
Father Pacholczyk also maintains that “there is usually a period of only a few days that it may be possible to extend the functioning of [brain dead individuals’] organs by keeping them on a ventilator.” We point out that some people who have been diagnosed as brain dead have lived for years even though they have not made remarkable recoveries. For example,
Father Pacholczyk contends that such cases “indicate a failure to apply the tests and criteria for determination of brain death with proper attentiveness and rigor.” This explanation is not reassuring for people who have signed up to be organ donors, trusting that doctors don’t make erroneous declarations of death.
One final point. There are many different sets of diagnostic criteria that may be used to determine brain death. A person who would be declared brain dead in one hospital could be considered alive and receive potentially life-saving treatment in another hospital.
Even if you believe that brain death is true death, consider that you do not know where you might be hospitalized in the event you suffer a severe brain injury. What criteria will be used to determine brain death? Will the doctors who do the testing be qualified, careful, and honest? Will your organs be more important to them than your life?
“Should I Refuse to Be an Organ Donor?” Is a Prudent Question
Let us be clear. HALO does not reject vital organ donation by itself. We question the validity of brain death, particularly when “brain dead” individuals are slated to be organ donors or when a brain death determination is made not in order to be certain a patient is truly dead, but to justify stopping all life-sustaining treatment. Our position is compatible with the Church’s position. The Catholic Church is not opposed to organ transplantation but insists that persons must not be killed in order to procure their organs or for any other reason.
HALO cautions people: When in doubt, err on the side of life. We advise that you sign a wallet card refusing to be an organ donor  and carry it with you at all times, but the decision is up to you.
 Father Tad Pacholczyk, Director of Education, The National Catholic Bioethics Center, “Making Sense of Bioethics: Brain Dead Means Dead,” November 2005, www.ncbcenter.org.