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, 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.