George Pickering II’s son was declared “brain-dead” after he suffered a massive stroke in January. In an effort to buy time for his son, he did the wrong thing for the right reasons. He brought a gun to the hospital to give him time with his son.
“They were moving too fast. The hospital, the nurses, the doctors.They were saying he was brain dead, he was a vegetable, said Pickering. “During that three hours, George squeezed my hand three or four times on command.”
George Pickering II’s son was declared “brain-dead” after he suffered a massive stroke in January 2015.
The hospital ordered a “terminal wean” which is a process that slowly ends a person’s life by removing life support.
George Pickering son HAD signed the donor card.
However, because he was not ready to let go of his son and the hospital staff was moving too quickly (they usually do) his son, George Pickering III, is still alive and well because of it.
“There was a law broken, but it was broken for all the right reasons. I’m here now because of it,” said Pickering’s son, George III. “It was love, it was love.”
It wasn’t until several weeks after the incident that Pickering’s son said he learned his family was told he was unlikely to recover from his stroke and coma. Pickering said he still has people come up to him and say, “I thought you were dead.”
“It’s the duty of a parent to protect your children and that’s all he did,” said Pickering’s son. “Everything good that made me a man is because of that man sitting next to me.”
Watch the video of the father and son here.
Federal Regulations for Organ Donation
The staff at Tomball Regional Medical Center had notified Donate Life Texas an organ procurement organization that Pickering’s son was a donor.
Remember this is Federal law when there is a potential organ donor whether they have signed the organ donor card or not.
In 1984, the National Organ Transplant Act (NOTA) was signed into law requiring this. OPO staff review the potential donor’s medical condition and history to determine his or her eligibility for donation. The OPO will search the donor registry to determine if the patient is a registered donor.
IF the patient is on the donor list it is an uphill battle for the parents and in most cases especially Trauma 1 hospitals. The organ donor contract will NOT be violated and the harvesting of the organs will proceed. Occasionally in smaller hospitals they will give the patient a bit more time if the parents are not in favor of the donation.
Federal law requires timely notification
“Timely notification” means a hospital must contact the OPO by telephone as soon as possible after an individual has died, has been placed on a ventilator due to a severe brain injury, or who has been declared brain dead (ideally within 1 hour). That is, a hospital must notify the OPO while a brain dead or severely brain-injured, individual is still attached to the ventilator and as soon as possible after the death of any other individual, including a potential non-heart-beating donor. Even if the hospital does not consider an individual who is not on a ventilator to be a potential donor, the hospital MUST call the OPO as soon as possible after the death of that individual has occurred.
(c) Enforcement of OPTN rules—(1) OPTN recommendations. The Board of Directors shall advise the Secretary of the results of any reviews and evaluations conducted under paragraph (b)(1)(iii) or paragraph (b)(3) of this section which, in the opinion of the Board, indicate noncompliance with these rules or OPTN policies, or indicate a risk to the health of patients or to the public safety, and shall provide any recommendations for appropriate action by the Secretary. Appropriate action may include removal of designation as a transplant program under §121.9, termination of a transplant hospital’s participation in Medicare or Medicaid, termination of a transplant hospital’s reimbursement under Medicare and Medicaid, termination of an OPO’s reimbursement under Medicare and Medicaid, if the noncompliance is with a policy designated by the Secretary as covered by section 1138 of the Social Security Act, or such other compliance or enforcement measures contained in policies developed under§121.4 http://cfr.regstoday.com/42cfr121.aspx#42_CFR_121p7
The hospital that does NOT notify the Organ Procurement Organization, (“usually within 1 hour”) they can lose their reimbursements. So there you go.
I am thankful this family is together to celebrate Christmas. Even though as stated above I would never recommend taking a gun into a hospital… his son is alive and not dead and they are not grieving this Christmas.
I admit this was bittersweet to read as Jamie also had a stroke and we were told “no hope”, “devastating injury”, “brain dead”, “no one recovers”. IF I ONLY KNEW THEN, WHAT I KNOW NOW. Hopefully other families will learn from my experience.