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.
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.
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.
A couple of other things stood out to me in the article:
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!
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.
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, 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. ”
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.
Taquisha McKitty was admitted into the Brampton Civic Hospital, Ontario, Canada on September 14, 2017 having suffered a drug overdose. While although Taquisha was breathing on her own and moving in response to her family, Taquisha was recognized as a registered organ donor and medical treatment to protect and preserve her life were circumvented.
Two apnea tests were performed, she was declared “brain dead” by two physicians in accordance to Ontario law and to this effect, a death certificate was issued September 20, 2017. Her family hopes to have Taquisha’s death certificate canceled in pursuit of medical therapy her wellbeing, to protect and preserve her life, not that of another(s) as an organ donor.
A Brampton judge issued a two-week injunction to keep a woman declared brain dead on September 20 on life support.
Ontario Superior Court Justice Lucille Shaw ruled that Dr. Andrew Baker, chief of critical care at St. Michael’s Hospital would run further tests.
“If you are there with her and you touch her and you grab her feet, she will pull her feet from you. If you tickle her she will move her feet. In one instance one of her cousins was squeezing her hand and asked her to show her thumb and she moved her thumb,” McKitty’s father Stanley Stewart told CP24 on Thursday night. “We know for a fact that she is alive because if she was dead and her brain was dead there is no way that a week-and-a-half later she would still be moving. If you are brain dead then no parts should be moving.”
Dr. Paul Byrne
“What’s going on here is the young lady is living,” Dr. Paul A. Byrne, a retired neonatologist, past president of the Catholic Medical Association is retained by the family to speak on their behalf, told CP24 on Thursday.
“A declaration by a doctor does not make someone dead. There is clearly a difference between being alive and being dead and she is alive. Her heart beats, she has circulation, she moves her legs and she responds to the family.”
Byrne told CP24 that he believes doctors are rushing to declare Taquisha McKitty brain dead so that her organs can be donated. If he is granted expert status, he will be able to advise a physician licensed in Ontario to provide McKitty with treatment.
Dr. Byrne said that all the family wants is for their loved one to be given “proper treatment.” he said it is his belief that Taquisha McKitty could still recover.
“Patients like this, if they treat them with thyroid hormones and other things, they have a chance to continue to live,” he said.
*** Please if you’re ever in this situation don’t do the Apnea test, I have written on it so much and it only makes things worse, even in the doctors call it the “gold standard.”
Brain death is NOT true death. It is a legal term created by doctors to get your organs. When organs are removed from a “brain dead” donor, all the vital signs of the “donors” are still present prior to the harvesting of organs, such as normal body temperature and blood pressure; the heart is beating; vital organs, like the liver and kidneys, are functioning; and the donor is breathing with the help of a ventilator.
In medicine, we protect, preserve, and prolong life and postpone death. Our goal is to keep body and soul united. When a vital organ ceases to function, death can result. On the other hand, medical intervention can sometimes restore the function of the damaged organ, or medical devices (such as pacemakers and heart-lung machines) can preserve life. The observation of a cessation of functioning of the brain or some other organ of the body does not in itself indicate destruction of even that organ, much less death of the person. Dr. Paul Byrne
All of us who know the truth of the fallacy of brain death must pray and be there to help her. Watch the short video with Dr. Byrne and her dad and pastor.