Archives For Organ donation

Why is everyone shocked at the harvesting of babies organs?

Disgusted yes? Horrified yes? But, shocked? No, I am not.

In January 1999, Life Site News posted a article by Celeste McGovern called, Secrets of the Dead-Baby Industry

Price list for babies livers

Aborted fetuses are being dissected alive, harvested and SOLD in pieces to fuel a vast research enterprise.

Take a peak at the for profit business Stem Express and you can see the order form for a liver and other organs. In their own words,

“StemExpress is a multi-million dollar company that supplies human blood, tissue products, primary cells and other clinical specimens to biomedical researchers around the world to fuel regenerative medicine and translational research. Founded in 2010, we offer the largest variety of raw material in the industry, as well as fresh, fixed and cryopreserved human primary cells.”

Same argument for organs harvested from people pronounced, “Brain Dead”

Order form for baby partsWell if they are already dead, then why bury the parts in the grave, let them be used to help someone else.

How altruistic it sounds but in BOTH cases the life of someone is taken in order to donate their organs and tissues.

Whenever you read a story about a person “donating” an unpaired major organ, the “donor” has to be killed. Major organs like the heart and liver are not vital or can NOT be used when “harvested” from a cadaver.

The person has to be alive with a living, beating heart circulating blood throughout the body in order to keep the other major organs alive.

There are no hearts, livers, pancreases, kidneys that are harvested from truly dead individuals. That person must be “kept alive” until his organs are harvested.

The last organ taken is the heart because that is what kills the “donor.”

You can’t live without a heart.

Pro-life

Personally I have been active in the pro-life movement for 40 years. I have picked Planned Parenthood, stood with Operation Rescue, counseled  woman in a Pregnancy Counseling Center, and helped facilitate an adoption.

Someone told me recently my name was still on a tree outside Ann Arbor Planned Parenthood in Ann Arbor, Missy Caulk do NOT trespass.

However, before I was active in the pro-life movement  I had an abortion. It was around the time abortion in America became legal. It was before I KNEW it was a baby and NOT a blob of tissue. I sinned. But, God forgave me when I understood and could repent of what I had done. I know I will meet my child in heaven one day.

Selling organs from a baby to a adult severely injured person is big business

Someone asked me once what I hoped to get out of this blog and my response was to help save lives from birth to natural death.  To help educate the masses who don’t understand that “brain death” is a legal fiction, made up to justify killing of people who are severely injured but not DEAD.

For you created my inmost being;

    you knit me together in my mother’s womb. Psalms 139:13

 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

    your works are wonderful,

    I know that full well. Psalm 139:14

My frame was not hidden from you

    when I was made in the secret place  Psalm 139:15

Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Psalm 139:16

organ trafficking cost chart

Success Stories

More on the selling of baby parts

Organ Donation category 

Organ Donation Facts and Life Guardian Foundation 

There is no sin too big that can not be forgiven. If you have had an abortion God can and will forgive you IF you ask. I think most people know this and the harder thing to do is to forgive yourself. God does not want you to go through life punishing yourself for your abortion or for any other wrong you have done. The blood shed on the cross is powerful to heal. Jesus paid the price for our sin, so we don’t have to.

These are not blobs of tissue, they are babies who have a heartbeat and a brain. The brain and spinal cord begins to form at 5 weeks or 3 weeks AFTER conception. (Mayo Clinic)

If you watch the video produced by The Center of Medical Progress the brain of the baby is highly desirable. The doctors performing try to turn the baby’s head so they don’t crush it. I found this interesting since doctor’s are so quick to pronounce someone “brain-dead.”

The law on selling any organs

May God use the national exposure to change hearts and laws across the nation.

 

Brain Death is not biological death

1) the lack of all brain functions does not correlate to the cessation of the functioning of the organism (us) as a whole.

2)  An organism with a complete lack of brain function, if maintained on a ventilator, can nonetheless maintain certain homeostasis-maintaining biological functions, and so remain biologically alive.

3) Biological death is the event that separates the living (or dying) process from the process of increasing entropy. Entropy is deterioration, degeneration, crumbling, decline, degradation, decomposition, breaking down, collapse; disorder, chaos.

4) Early on in the brain death literature it was discovered that individuals can meet the diagnostic requirements for brain death in terms of apnea, unresponsiveness, and lack of cranial nerve reflexes, yet maintain certain neurological functions. This was further proved in a study by Dr. Alan Shewmon.

Informed Consent

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

If the person is not conscious then informed consent can be given by the decision-maker. (Be careful who you choose)

There are two ways to give informed consent to remove organs for those declared “brain-dead”.

1) Once you have been pronounced “brain dead” the physician, can ask your family members and or friends.

2) When you sign up to be an organ donor at the DMV, or Secretary of State.

Unfortunately, each hospital has their own processes or protocols for determining a call of brain death. Think of your own area’s hospitals. As an example in Michigan, we have several hospitals that are Trauma 1 hospitals.

You could be pronounced brain death at U of M. by a nurse who can call it. But at St. Joes you may have to have two tests, 24 hours apart, at Beaumont you may need two physicians and a required EEG, at Detroit Receiving Hospital they may require a nuclear scan.  ( I have no idea expect for U of M just using this an example of how hospital have their own protocols.

The difference is practicality you can be pronounced dead in one hospital and not dead in another depending on their protocols.

Mike Nair-Collins, Ph.D. at The Bioethics Program at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in NYC, who is the inspiration for this post said, “consciousness, does not determine death”.

Informed consent is achieved through a conversation between patient or surrogate decision-maker and physician, where the physician explains the relevant facts to the decision-maker.

Words Matter

For the conversation to result in the successful communication of information, both the physician (the speaker) and the decision-maker (the hearer) must play their respective communicative roles appropriately. For the physician, that means that they must understand her own subject matter before they can communicate that to the hearer.

Unfortunately, many physicians do not understand the conceptual difficulties, inadequacies, and fallacious reasoning surrounding the brain death doctrine. I make this claim on the following four grounds. First, the literature upon which the brain death doctrine is based is riddled with non-sequiturs.

Discussions of critical vs. non-critical functions are irrelevant, consciousness is a red herring, as the difference between life and death is not the presence or absence of consciousness, there is confusion between diagnosis and prognosis, the creation of various homonyms distorts the issue and obscures the underlying value judgments, and there is confusion between the normative questions about organ donation with the factual questions about biological life and death.

We can hardly expect that great clarity will arise from such a confused primary literature, and it is no surprise to find a lack of  understanding about death, brain death, and the relations between them.

As a result of our acceptance of the dead donor rule, and as a result of the legal definition of ‘death’ in terms of brain death, the physician, as Miller and Truog note, must insist that brain death equals death. Thus, the physician must inform the family member that her loved one “is dead”.

But what does that mean, since there are at least six different homonyms, all of which are spelled, and sound like, ‘dead’?

In linguistics, a homonym is a word that has different meanings. In the strict sense, one of a group of words that share the same spelling and pronunciation but have different meanings. Thus homonyms are simultaneously homographs (words that share the same spelling, regardless of their pronunciation) and homophones (words that share the same pronunciation, regardless of their spelling)

New Guidelines for pronouncing death after cardiac deathI have written recently on the study of physicians who pronounce brain death.

Presumably the family member will interpret ‘dead’ in the common sense use of the word. Whatever other connotations might be involved in the word ‘dead’, some version of the biological concept, of cessation of functioning, clearly lies at the core of the common-sense concept.

On the biological concept, and hence on at least part of the commonsense concept, the brain dead patient is still biologically alive.

Therefore, the decision-maker does not have adequate understanding of the relevant facts; namely, the decision-maker is misinformed about whether the brain dead patient is biologically alive or not.

1) Physicians try to explain something that isn’t true.

2) The family member tries to understand a concept called brain death, but they may be thinking of the homonym word death and not understand that their loved one is STILL biologically alive.

3) When a doctor tells you your loved one is dead, you are NOT thinking of a legal, clinical determination but dead in the common sense, or the historical sense of the word dead.

4) This is one reason Organ Procurement agents are used the majority time because they learn scripts and dialogs and are rewarded when they meet their quotas.

Is Informed Consent Really Informed?

From a study done by Woien, S., M.Y. Rady, J.L. Verheijde, and J. McGregor, “Organ procurement organizations internet enrollment for organ donation: Abandoning informed consent,” BMC Medical Ethics 7 (2006): 14, they determined that out of the 60 OPO websites they looked at that there was NO reliable information on the organ donation process.

Our findings showed that the disclosure on OPO Web sites and in online consent forms lacked pertinent information required for informed enrollment for deceased organ donation … The Web sites predominantly provide positive reinforcement and promotional information rather than the transparent disclosure of the organ donation process.

Print this card and carry it with youPeople need to be able to make informed consent BEFORE signing to be an organ donor. They need to be able to understand that brain death is NOT the biological death of the person.

Organ harvesting from the brain dead donor kills the donor.

  • That is the fact, and if people are informed and still want to donate that is their choice…as long as they understand that brain death is not biological death.
  • Killing an individual to get their organs without informed consent is a moral violation both to the donor and their families who have to make that decision.
  • The public has been lied to, not informed and intentionally deceived by the medical community.
  • Biological science is what it is, whether we like it or not.

My friend Dr. Paul Byrne and W.F Weaver in their study “Brain death in not death said,

“Brain death” was not propagated via a medical scientific method. A committee of  experts was convened to deal with issues that could affect disposition and/or utilization of these patients. The first words of the “Report of the Ad Hoc Committee of the Harvard Medical School to Examine the Definition of Brain Death” … are as follows: “Our primary purpose is to define irreversible coma as a new criterion for death.”…

The primary purpose of the Committee was not to determine IF irreversible coma was an appropriate criterion for death but to see to it  that IT WAS established as a “new criterion for death.”

With an agenda like that at the outset, the data could be made to fit the already arrived at conclusion. It seems that there was a serious lack of scientific method in this process.

Byrne, P.A., and W.F. Weaver, “’Brain death’ is not death,” in C. Machado and D.A. Shewmon, eds., Brain death and disorders of consciousness (Springer, 2004), at 43

The entire paper by Michael Collins can be read:  Death, brain death, and the limits of science | Mike Nair-Collins – Academia.edu.

Killing for Organs Push in The Atlantic.

Wesley SmithThis is an article by Wesley Smith, author of the book, Culture of Death,The Assault of Medical Ethics in America,  in response to the Atlantic article which is advocating killing the profoundly disabled or imminently dying for their organs.  

I’ve been saying this for the last three years here on this blog and everywhere I can that this is where we are headed.

Excerpts from Wesley’s post: 

I have repeatedly warned about articles published in medical and bioethics journals advocating killing the profoundly disabled or dying for their organs. The assault on the “dead donor rule” has now filtered down to the popular media.

The Atlantic has an article advocating that dying patients be killed for their organs rather than having to actually, you know, die first. From, “As They Lay Dying:”

Transplant-surgery programs in the United States are scrutinized by an alphabet soup of federal and nongovernmental entities. Centers with worse-than-expected transplant outcomes can be placed on probation or shut down.

Centers with worse-than-expected transplant outcomes can be placed on probation or shut down.

From the earliest days of transplantation, surgeons subscribed to an informal ethical norm known as the “dead-donor rule,” holding that organ procurement should NOT cause a donor’s death.

In practice, this meant waiting until patients were by all measures completely dead—no heartbeat, no blood pressure, no respiration—to remove any vital organs. (Sometimes 2 minutes, comment by me) 

 

A more useful ethical standard could involve the idea of “imminent death.” Once a person with a terminal disease reaches a point when only extraordinary measures will delay death; when use (or continued use) of these measures is incompatible with what he considers a reasonable quality of life; and when he therefore decides to stop aggressive care, knowing that this will, in relatively short order, mean the end of his life, we might say that death is “imminent.”

If medical guidelines could be revised to let people facing imminent death donate vital organs under general anesthesia, we could provide patients and families a middle ground—a way of avoiding futile medical care, while also honoring life by preventing the deaths of other critically ill people. Moreover, healthy people could incorporate this imminent-death standard into advance directives for their end-of-life care. They could determine the conditions under which they would want care withdrawn, and whether they were willing to have it withdrawn in an operating room, under anesthesia, with subsequent removal of their organs. There’s a name for that: Homicide. Doctors should never be killers, even for a “beneficial” purpose. 

If medical guidelines could be revised to let people facing imminent death donate vital organs under general anesthesia, we could provide patients and families a middle ground—a way of avoiding futile medical care, while also honoring life by preventing the deaths of other critically ill people.

Moreover, healthy people could incorporate this imminent-death standard into advance directives for their end-of-life care. They could determine the conditions under which they would want care withdrawn, and whether they were willing to have it withdrawn in an operating room, under anesthesia, with subsequent removal of their organs.

There’s a name for that: Homicide. Doctors should never be killers, even for a “beneficial” purpose. 

As my friend, Carolyn said on her Facebook page, and I agree. 

“Oh, this really makes me sick! Wake up everyone, the government is about to pass another law to enable the greedy the ability to dissect a living person for their organs. How many of you really want to die being dissected alive to satisfy the greed of a medical community and government gone mad? You think this could not happen to you, but it could.

The reason why so many fall in this cesspool of being a potential organ donor is because they are denied treatment.

Once this happens the doctor legally can demand the patient be denied anymore treatments. You can beg, I begged, You can cry, if you scream and act out, you will be arrested. Your loved is in harm’s way in a hospital in the World. You are at the mercy of a trained denial of medicine. Now they want to legally deny care to the almost, which is really what they have been doing all along.”

Read Caroly’s story about her daughter Melissa here.

I wrote on this and the dead-donor rule back in October, 2013 and the voices continue to get louder. 

The “Dead Donor Rule”

The “dead-donor rule” refers to two accepted ‘ethical norms’ that govern the practice of organ harvesting before transplantation:

1) vital organs should be taken only from dead patients,

2) living patients should not be killed for or by organ procurement.

There is a movement now by several well-known transplant surgeons to get rid of the “dead donor rule,” and call it what it is a legal fiction. Tell people the truth about what is happening…that you are not dead…yes, critically injured…but you are NOT dead.

Transplant surgeons believe that with such consent, there is no harm or wrong done in retrieving vital organs before death, provided that anesthesia is administered. But, many doctor’s and OPO’s (Organ Procurement Organizations) are not so sure and are fearful that more people will NOT consent if the truth is exposed. 

Beware of these words from doctors, “devastating neurological injury, no hope, and now “imminent death.”


Read more of Wesley’s post here. 

Head Transplants

Brain injured

Perhaps you saw this on the news. I think I caught a glimpse of it somewhere but when it came up on my Twitter feed from Journal of Medical Ethics, I went and did a little digging. 

Fortunately New Scientist Magazine had carried an article on it. Sergio Canavero, Surgeon at the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group in Italy, first proposed the idea in 2013 and he now says it is completely possible by 2017. 

Canavero plans to announce the project at the annual conference of the American Academy of Neurological and Orthopaedic Surgeons (AANOS) in Annapolis, Maryland, in June 2015. 

I don’t even know what to say to this latest “Scientific research???  

Furthermore, Dr. Canavero is calling his new surgical strategy the HEAVEN procedure, which preserves brain function through hypothermia during the transplantation procedure, which is performed at cervical level C5/6. 

Basically doing a head transplant requires cooling the recipient’s head and the donor body to extend the time their cells can survive without oxygen. The tissue around the neck is dissected and the major blood vessels are linked using tiny tubes, before the spinal cords of each person are cut. 

Details will be presented at the conference in June however you IF you ARE interested in this you can read some of the details here.

Ethics

Transplanting living human heads onto new bodies raises extraordinary ethical questions. But so did a non-beating heart donor a few years ago. Canavero intends to use brain-dead organ donors to test the fusing of the spinal cord with Polyethylene glycol. 

Polyethylene glycol (PEG) is a polyether compound with many applications from industrial manufacturing to medicine.

Dr. Scripkoa neurologist and bioethicist with an interest in headache, traumatic brain injuries and concussions at Salinas Valley Hospital in California said that “many of the ethical implications related to the surgery depend on how you define human life. “I believe that what is specifically human is held within the higher cortex. If you modify that, then you are not the same human and you should question whether it is ethical. In this case, you’re not altering the cortex.” However, she adds that many cultures would not approve of the surgery because of their belief in a human soul that is not confined to the brain.”

So it all boils down to yes maybe it CAN be done, But SHOULD it be done? 

  • When does human life begin? 
  • Who should determine’s when someone is dead? 

You know my belief, life begins at conception and ends when true death occurs? It is not our choice but God’s. He is the author and finisher of life. The beginning and the end. True death occurs WHEN the soul leaves the body. 

Your eyes saw my unformed body; ALL the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:16

Vital organs need to be fresh and undamaged for transplantation. Vital organs (from the Latin vita, meaning life) include the heart, liver, lungs, kidneys and pancreas. In order to be suitable for transplant, they need to be removed from the donor before respiration and circulation cease.

We know that brain death is not true death. We know that without blood and oxygen the brain it starts to die within a few minutes. So I think we can conclude that in a head transplant the brain would need to alive with blood and oxygen flowing into both the donor and the recipient. As Dr. Canavero said doing a head transplant would require cooling the bodies of both donor and recipient to slow down cell death. 

My question is WHY is this cooling NOT being done in hospitals to prohibit the brain swelling after a traumatic brain injury? 

I posted on guidelines for treating trauma here and asked why hospitals aren’t doing it as a standard protocol? 

As I quoted from the Nova interview between Dr. Jamshid Ghajar: 

It’s a lot easier just to put the patient on the ventilator and then turn up the rate and then give them some drugs and come back next week and see how they’re doing. They’re lying there in a coma. They’re not screaming out for help. They’re not saying, “I’m in pain.” And so it would be quite easy to say, “Well, they have half a foot in the grave, why do anything else?” 

“That’s the real issue. I think if these patients were awake and saying, “Listen do something for me,” we’d be doing a lot more for them. But because they’re in a coma and they cannot speak for themselves, we’re treating them the way they are now.”

I find in unconscionable that we are on the verge of head transplants as a scientific reality and doctors can’t immediately use hypothermia to cool down the body and the brain of an injured person upon first entering the hospital. 

Dr. Jamshid Ghajar continued, “here are a lot of young people, children, especially, who are dying unnecessarily. These kids could live and have a very good quality of life, and they’re dying.

Flickr Photo Credit 

The retreating boundaries of organ harvesting.

There is an article on Slate which questions when death is and WHO determines it. The author ends with this statement, “Modern medicine has brought us tremendous power. With that power comes responsibility. Boundaries such as death, heart stoppage, and ownership of organs have guided our moral thinking because they seem fixed in nature. Now we’ve unmoored them.

one domino at a time fallsThe author then goes on to state he is a registered donor because he believes in the gift of life, and that the job of providing organs falls to each of us. So does the job of deciding when and how we can rightly take them.

I would love to see that discussion.

Full disclosure as most of those who read my blog know…I believe life and death are NOT human decisions but one that only God can make. He gives life and He takes life away.

Dr. Robert Truog has been saying for years that taking organs from living people is causing death in the process. He has even gone to far as to call it a medical, legal fiction. (it is)

Dr. Truog believes that ethically it is OK to take organs from severely injured people as long as they have given informed consent via a life directive or a surrogate to be terminated (killed) in this way.

Informed Consent?

How is “informed consent” given by any person who signs up to be a donor? You can sign up online, on Facebook or at the Secretary of State or Department of Motor Vehicles. Are you given a pamphlet that talks about ANY of this? Have you been informed?

Since its inception, organ transplantation has been guided by the overarching ethical requirement known as the dead donor rule, which simply states that patients must be declared dead before the removal of any vital organs for transplantation. Before the development of modern critical care, the diagnosis of death was relatively straightforward: patients were dead when they were cold, blue, and stiff. 

The dead donor rule was accepted as a justification for pronouncing a person dead before harvesting organs.

If a family is told their child or loved one is brain dead, 99% of the time they do not question what is said or really even understand it. Nothing matters until it happens to you and then your eyes are open to the legal medical fiction.

In one sense, I agree with Dr. Troug I just don’t agree with his ultimate conclusion that it is OK to kill for organs IF you give permission.

Yes, the boundaries are retreating in organ donation

When Harvard first published their criteria in 1968, EEG’s were a part of the evaluation, then in 1971 the Minnesota criteria along and they decided patients didn’t need EEG’s because too many families got upset when they saw brain waves. Then the “Pittsburgh protocol” came along and they began to take organs not from “just” the “brain-dead” patient but from patients after cardiac death. Now in Denver they are waiting 75 sec for a babies heart to stop and then proceeding with organ harvesting.

Dr. Sam Parna’s book Erasing Death goes into the entire issue of the science of resuscitation.

As the author of the Slate article, Will Saletan states,

“Pick up the New England Journal of Medicine, and you’ll see the far edge of this tortured world. In the journal, doctors at the Denver Children’s Hospital describe how they removed hearts from infants 75 seconds  after their hearts stopped. The infants were declared dead of heart failure even as their hearts, in new bodies, resume ticking. The federal government funded the procedure; other hospitals are looking to adopt it.”

Be informed, discuss this with your families and friends. Know what you believe and why you believe it.