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. 

Praying for Kidnapped Children

How much do you pray? Or a better way to ask this is who and how and what do you pray for or about?  I don’t really expect an answer but lately my heart has been drawn to pray for medically kidnapped children.

In fact, most of my prayers of late bring me to tears whether I cry driving down the road to Ann Arbor real estate appointments or before I go to sleep. I weep for all the pain that people are going through. Sometimes I don’t really know HOW to pray because I don’t know all the details of everything people have asked for in their prayer requests.

The scripture that comes to mind, “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes FOR us with groanings to deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” Romans 8:26-27

A few years ago I started to see a multitude of prayer requests on Facebook, (my favorite social network). I caught myself saying I was praying or would pray and I was NOT. That still small voice spoke to me, “you hypocrite”.

So I stopped saying, “praying for you”, UNLESS I was.

 

Justina PelletierMedical Kidnapping

Fourteen months ago I found a story about Justina Pelletier on Facebook and joined that group and twitter feeds, made calls to the Gov of Mass and DCF, prayed, and cried a lot.  I couldn’t fathom the travesty of justice this precious child went through. Boy were my eyes opened. Justina’s case became a springboard for me to see what was really going on out there with our Foster Care and Child Protection Services.

Now not a day go by that I don’t hear of  children being taken from their parents for medical reasons. Not only children being medically kidnaped but taken for frivolous reason from loving homes. I started to ask, how can this be happening?

Some of situations that I have been praying for the last year that are breaking my heart are:

isaiah Ryder and mom MIchelle

 

Isiah Rider Is a 17-year-old Missouri resident who was taken away from his mother at the age of 16 by Illinois child protective services – DCFS – while in Lurie Children’s Hospital for medical treatment. All his mom wanted was a second opinion and they were referred to a different hospital in ILL because the hospital in Missouri couldn’t find a cure for his pain.

 

 

The Ringo family from Bellingham, WA who have a more holistic in their approach to life and health, preferring natural alternatives, like herbs and diet changes, to medicinal treatments.

stanley family The Stanley Family in Arkansas had and continue to have their seven homeschooled children in foster care because they too lived a holistic lifestyle and the dad supposedly used a substance not approved by the FDA. The children never took it and they had no idea there was a controversary on MMS. Now what is really weird to me, as one of my friends here in Michigan has Lyme disease, and the same day I found the Stanley’s story, my friend called and asked me if I had ever heard of MMS.

I said no I had not.  She told me her MD, (notice I said MD had prescribed it for her. I had just texted her back after doing some quick research on it and told her it seemed fine to me if taken as prescribed.

Since then I have another friend in another state who informed me her MD had prescribed it to her. So NOW the Stanley’s have lost custody of their kids over a substance that is being prescribed by MD’s? The Stanley’s said they would get rid of it as the dad had only tried it and they used it for their garden.

I don’t get it.

burns family

Recently a couple who live in Brighton,MI (right down the road from me)  is going through a tragic situation where the father was convicted of abusing his 11-week old daughter. Joshua and Brenda Burns, who waited 7 years to have their baby, she being a nurse at my local hospital and him a pilot with Delta because the baby Naomi slipped off her daddy’s lap and he caught her with his hand. That is called negligence for protecting their baby…catching her before she hit her head on the coffee table.

Josh is to be sentenced this week, their pastor set up a web-site for them, the prosecution could find no one to testify against Josh’s character in all of Brighton, MI? Yet now DCF is harassing the mother, who was cleared.

I sure an glad my children are grown, Jamie was so accident prone we nicknamed him Rambo Jamo Pup. How can this be happening?

Verosa family

 

Another tragic case, that I have been praying for and reached out to NotDeadYet is the is the Verzosa Family of Kissimmee, Florida. So what was the Verosa families crimes?

The mother has a slight intellectual disability. (Whatever that is…) So now their 6 children are in foster care and the parents are devastated. If the mom needs support, get her some help. DON’T take her children away. Yes, this situation has brought me to tears many nights now.

 

I could literally go into many cases in the State of Arizona, which appears to be making money off these kids being taken from their families, you would not believe it. But I will mention only one family in AZ that I have been praying for and that is Kayla and Hannah Diegel. 

Dingle sisters

My plan in the next few weeks is to post more on my thoughts of WHY this is happening. What is systemically wrong with DCF’s?  WHY they are taking more children from loving families who are just trying to get help for their children who have medical issues.

There are families having kids taken away for FRIVOLOUS reasons. (home-schooling, not vaccinating, seeking a second medical opinion, diaper rash, home-births, not giving psychotropic drugs, two doctors disagreeing on a diagnosis for their children and on and on.

Please, subscribe by email on the right column if you want to follow along and find out how this can be happening in our nation. Mainly join me in praying for these families IF you are moved as have been. 

A few nights ago I was standing in the kitchen and started telling Christa and Allyssa about the family in Brighton and I just completely broke down. They don’t understand HOW I can be so broken up over this family with everything we as a family have gone through.

Hey, I don’t either!

***Full disclosure, I am not against DCF, CPS or Social Workers (my degree is in social work) and I know they are overworked and understaffed.  I know there are very dedicated one’s who truly want to help protect abused children. (physically, sexually, emotionally) My advocacy is that systemic changes must be changed and changed quickly***

New update, read how Judge Whelan in San Diego County ruled against CPS for taking children and violating many laws. I am still reading his entire ruling but good case law present here. This is getting too long, I will post more later.

It’s the little things

Mike and Missy CaulkToday is my husbands birthday, the second one we will be celebrating on earth without him. Mike had such an engaging personality and was the funniest person I have ever known.

I miss his presence so much, not for ALL the jokes but for ALL the little things.

In a long-term marriage of 35 years, there is no one on earth that knows you more…the good and the bad. Many people talk about a soul mate in a mystical way but to me Mike was the love of my life and my best friend.

Now that doesn’t mean we didn’t have our disagreements and struggles, but it does mean we always came back stronger than before in our devotion to one another.

The loss of a spouse is like throwing a pebble in the water and watching the ripples flow out. It starts with a big plunk and every day you see the ripples keep flowing out.  At each ripple you find more and more things you miss about their presence.

In each marriage whether on purpose or just out of the dynamic’s of the relationship, you take on different responsibilities. Mike always took care of entertaining the kids. I remember one time, he was in a Toys’R’Us – which we were walking through after shopping for the baby at Babys’R’Us – we were walking through some toy aisle, and he randomly had the idea that my kid needs that nerf review – and ended up spending 20 minutes looking through it picking out toy guns for the kids. I was too exhausted with the baby to consider that, but he did. And they loved it. Mike always brought the mail in on his way home from work, I go to the mailbox maybe twice a week. I just forget. Mike took the garbage out, cleaned the kitchen and had coffee made for each morning. I still at 21 months without him,  HATE doing those things. Last week I bought a new coffee pot so I could have an automatic time to start the coffee at 7:00 AM but I can’t get it to work. I hate dragging the garbage cans to the curve, through the snow and ice. He never complained.

Last fall I started taking out 23-years of old landscaping. I would never have done that.

So many little things.

Caulk Family 1998But most of all I miss him being here a quiet presence in our home. I miss having someone to pour out my frustrations with in dealing with challenging situations with our children. We would tell each other (being parents of five), “I couldn’t do this without you.”

But, now I have to.

When you are joined in matrimony it is said you become one flesh. In a spiritual sense you do, but it is practically worked out through the life of the marriage.

When Mike turned 50 I had a surprise skating party for him. He walked into the roller rink and as everyone said “surprise” he was stunned. He saw friends from our old church where he pastored for 15 years, kids and parents from his coaching football days. He didn’t know what to think.

I had to fool him by telling him that Andrew (our youngest) had gone rollerblading and had fallen. He was so upset because of some sport Andrew was playing and he had told him to NOT GET HURT.  Mike fumed all the way to the rink but was totally surprised when he walked in to see all the smiling faces. We had a blast that day.

I have so many memories of our journey together on earth.

I “wish” he was here on what would be his 66 birthday. Of course, he would not be happy I printed that age as he looked so young…and acted even younger. As a history teacher at Belleville High School his students thought he was so old…45. He would laugh and say IF they would just add up the years of when I was in the Marines (during the Viet Nam War) they would know I was older than 45.

Mike CaulkNot many people saw Mikes sensitive side because of his outgoing personality in public. But, he was so sensitive and aware of pain in others. He hated to see any human mistreated. He was devastated when Jamie and Lillian left us. He was only able to read Chapter One of my book I was writing because he would just break down.

Of all of our children, Jamie and Mike were the most alike in their sensitive and competitive natures.

Not only did they compete against each other in every sport they played but when Mike was getting his Masters degree they competed over grades. LOL

I wonder if they are still competing in our eternal home?

The love of Mikes life was flying and everything to do with aviation. He loved building model airplanes and 12″ action figures. I called them his dolls. Now I am slowly boxing them up and selling some of the hundreds he had in our basement.  Last spring,

Last spring, Andrew and Christa were having a heart to heart talk on the deck. Andrew was struggling with how God could do this to our family. He had his head down, when all of a sudden a plane flew over our house with a  tail behind it and the words “TRUST JESUS”.  He looked up and said, “well I guess that is my answer.” He came running up to tell me with the biggest smile on his face.

Coincidence? I think not.

So today on Mike’s birthday as I reflect on who Mike was as a person, loving husband, father, and grandfather. I am grateful for our 35 years together and all the memories I hold in my heart. He changed me and I would not be who I am today without his love.

We will see you soon!

Muffy

 

Mike and I 1

Caulk kids at football game

Death is nothing at all

A Facebook friend, Helene Wilson Easterday shared this on her wall. I loved it and wanted to use it but I am so afraid of violating copyright that I asked her where she got it. She found it and it comes from ‘The King of Terrors’, a sermon on death delivered in St Paul’s Cathedral on Whitsunday 1910, while the body of King Edward VII was lying in state at Westminster, Canon Henry Scott-Holland. (So out of copyright protection.)

Death is nothing at all

I have only slipped away into the next room

I am I and you are you

Whatever we were to each other

That we are still

Call me by my old familiar name

Speak to me in the easy way you always used

Put no difference into your tone

Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow

Laugh as we always laughed

At the little jokes we always enjoyed together

Play, smile, think of me, pray for me

Let my name be ever the household word that it always was

Let it be spoken without effort

Without the ghost of a shadow in it

Life means all that it ever meant

It is the same as it ever was

There is absolute unbroken continuity

What is death but a negligible accident?

Why should I be out of mind

Because I am out of sight?

I am waiting for you for an interval

Somewhere very near

Just around the corner

All is well.

Nothing is past; nothing is lost

One brief moment and all will be as it was before

How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!

 

Heaven

If you have been following me for a while you know that I have literally read hundreds of books and articles about heaven since the losses I have experienced the last 3 years.

The very best is by author, Randy Alcorn called HEAVEN.

I love how Amazon tells you when you purchased a book. I bought this on November 2nd, 2011. That was 12 days after Jamie died and 12 days before Lillian died.

Twelve in the Bible means completion, I will write more of my thoughts on this later. Coincidence ? There are none.

Heaven Book by Randy AlcornReading Randy Alcorn’s book as one of the first gave me a good foundation for reading all the other one’s because it is a theology of heaven.

This poem by Canon Henry Scott-Holland in written in 1910 confirms what I have learned in my studies on heaven.

The parting  of our loved ones is not the end of our relationships, only an interruption.

Continuity

Randy Alcorn in his book heaven writes a lot about continuity. He states:

“By observing the resurrected Christ, we learn not only about resurrected bodies but also about resurrected relationships. Christ communicates with his disciples and shows his love to them as a group and as individuals. He instructs them and entrusts a task to them (Acts 1:4-8). If you study his interactions with Mary Magdalene (John 20:10-18), Thomas (20:24-29), and Peter (21:15-22), you will see how similar they are to his interactions with these same people before he died.

The fact that Jesus picked up his relationships where they’d left off is a foretaste of our own lives after we are resurrected. We will experience continuity between our current lives and our resurrected lives, with the same memories and relational histories.

Once we understand that Christ’s resurrection is the prototype for the resurrection of mankind and the earth, we realize that Scripture has given us an interpretive precedent for approaching passages concerning human resurrection and life on the New Earth.”

Alcorn, Randy (2004-10-01). Heaven (Alcorn, Randy) (Kindle Locations, 1500, 2238-2239). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition. (txt emphasis mine)

If you buy Randy’s book, for no other reason buy it for his research on the doctrine of continuity.

How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!

I love this! My family and I have talked many times about the questions we have concerning Jamie’s accident, his declaration of brain death and what he heard while we were in the hospital room. We have asked each other hundreds of questions about each of them and their unexpected deaths.

I have questions about my husband’s last moments when he had a heart attack in his classroom. Was it quick? Was he having chest pains? Why did God take Lilly Bear one month after the devastating loss of my son? So many unanswered questions we ALL have.

The verse in the poem states, we will laugh at the trouble of parting. This is similar to the conclusion my family and I have come to that we just won’t care. We will be so happy to be together again and to see it all from our Father’s  loving perspective.

Death is nothing at all poem

Reading about heaven and life on the New Earth helps me deal with my grief more than anything I do.

Death, like birth, is only a transformation, another birth.
When we die we shall change our state, that is all.
And with faith in God, it is as easy and natural as going to sleep here and waking up there.

From – Journal Of A Soul – Death Is The Future For Everyone, Pope John XXIII

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.

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