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.
The 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.
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.