Archives For brain death

Brain scans

5o Years

50 years ago, an ad hoc Harvard Medical School committee declared that patients in an “irreversible coma” were dead from a legal and ethical point of view. By irreversible coma, the committee had in mind “comatose individuals who have no discernible central nervous system activity”. In making this pronouncement, the committee was seeking to resolve a series of ethical and legal questions that had arisen since the advent of positive pressure ventilation and research into vital organ procurement.

The criterion was rapidly enshrined in law around the US and, indeed, the globe, and it became the most common standard by which vital organ procurement and the withdrawal of treatment were regulated.

Yet 50 years on, the brain death criterion for death is under intense criticism, with several high profile legal cases in the US calling into question the claim that brain dead patients are really dead.

Doctor’s Question

In two recent JAMA articles (one co-authored with lawyer Thaddeus Pope and psychiatrist David S. Jones), Harvard Medical School’s Robert Truog evaluates the brain death criterion, arguing that, while the rationale behind the brain death criterion is defensible, it nevertheless lacks philosophical justification.

Truog states that the brain death criterion was intended to provide a clear biological criterion in which we could ground our legal definition death. The law needs black and white distinctions, and brain death provides one such distinction:

The law necessarily depends on bright-line determinations to standardize many important societal distinctions, such as when a person becomes an adult, when a person is blind, and when a person is dead…By drawing a bright line at the level of permanent unconsciousness and ventilator dependence, the [Uniform Determination of Death Act]* has defined when a person should be considered dead, making it permissible for the person to be an organ donor if they wish and making it permissible for the health care system to refuse to continue to provide the patient with life support.

Yet Truog also observes that “attempts to find a conceptual justification for linking this diagnosis (i.e., brain death) to the death of the patient remain incomplete”. He recounts how neurologist Alan Shewmon has shown that virtually every function undertaken by a healthy living body can be carried by a brain dead person on a ventilator. He also questions the 2008 attempt by the President’s Council for Bioethics to define death in terms of the absence of the “fundamental vital work of a living organism”. While xenotransplantation and 3D printing may one day provide a solution to organ shortages, the brain death criterion will remain for some time a source of spirited debate.

*The Uniform Determination of Death Act is a 1981 act adopted by most US states according to which “An individual who has sustained either (1) irreversible cessation of circulatory and respiratory functions, or (2) irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem, is dead”.

Link to original story.

On a personal note: The brain scan above was what caught my attention because Jamie’s had blood flow and the radiologist said, “there is blood flow”.  Vanderbilt said, “oh, we expected to find some blood flow”.

Then why didn’t they give him more time? Will I ever get over this? 

BioEdge Creative Commons

Taquisha McKitty

October 6, 2017 — Leave a comment

Taquisha McKitty

Taquisha McKittyTaquisha McKitty was admitted into the Brampton Civic Hospital, Ontario, Canada on September 14, 2017 having suffered a drug overdose.  While although Taquisha was breathing on her own and moving in response to her family, Taquisha was recognized as a registered organ donor and medical treatment to protect and preserve her life were circumvented.  

Two apnea tests were performed, she was declared “brain dead” by two physicians in accordance to Ontario law and to this effect, a death certificate was issued September 20, 2017.  Her family hopes to have Taquisha’s death certificate canceled in pursuit of medical therapy her wellbeing, to protect and preserve her life, not that of another(s) as an organ donor.

A Brampton judge issued a two-week injunction to keep a woman declared brain dead on September 20 on life support.

Ontario Superior Court Justice Lucille Shaw ruled that Dr. Andrew Baker, chief of critical care at St. Michael’s Hospital would run further tests.

“If you are there with her and you touch her and you grab her feet, she will pull her feet from you. If you tickle her she will move her feet. In one instance one of her cousins was squeezing her hand and asked her to show her thumb and she moved her thumb,” McKitty’s father Stanley Stewart told CP24 on Thursday night. “We know for a fact that she is alive because if she was dead and her brain was dead there is no way that a week-and-a-half later she would still be moving. If you are brain dead then no parts should be moving.”

Dr. Paul Byrne

“What’s going on here is the young lady is living,” Dr. Paul A. Byrne, a retired neonatologist, past president of the Catholic Medical Association is retained by the family to speak on their behalf, told CP24 on Thursday.

“A declaration by a doctor does not make someone dead. There is clearly a difference between being alive and being dead and she is alive. Her heart beats, she has circulation, she moves her legs and she responds to the family.”

Byrne told CP24 that he believes doctors are rushing to declare Taquisha  McKitty brain dead so that her organs can be donated. If he is granted expert status, he will be able to advise a physician licensed in Ontario to provide McKitty with treatment.

Dr. Byrne said that all the family wants is for their loved one to be given “proper treatment.” he said it is his belief that Taquisha McKitty could still recover.

“Patients like this, if they treat them with thyroid hormones and other things, they have a chance to continue to live,” he said.

*** Please if you’re ever in this situation don’t do the Apnea test, I have written on it so much and it only makes things worse, even in the doctors call it the “gold standard.” 

Brain death is NOT true death. It is a legal term created by doctors to get your organs. When organs are removed from a “brain dead” donor, all the vital signs of the “donors” are still present prior to the harvesting of organs, such as normal body temperature and blood pressure; the heart is beating; vital organs, like the liver and kidneys, are functioning; and the donor is breathing with the help of a ventilator.

In medicine, we protect, preserve, and prolong life and postpone death. Our goal is to keep body and soul united. When a vital organ ceases to function, death can result. On the other hand, medical intervention can sometimes restore the function of the damaged organ, or medical devices (such as pacemakers and heart-lung machines) can preserve life. The observation of a cessation of functioning of the brain or some other organ of the body does not in itself indicate destruction of even that organ, much less death of the person. Dr. Paul Byrne

All of us who know the truth of the fallacy of brain death must pray and be there to help her. Watch the short video with Dr. Byrne and her dad and pastor.

Israel StinsonIsrael Stinson was abruptly taken off life support to the devastation of his parents, Fronseca and Nathaniel Stinson.

Perhaps you haven’t followed this story but I have and I am just as horrified as his family is.

You see the long and short of it is the hospital declared Israel “brain dead.” After many court battles Israel’s family moved him to a hospital in Guatemala, where they began to feed Israel and give the family hope.

According to Alexandra Snyder, the families attorney, three Guatemalan doctors, including a neurologist, declared that the boy was NOT brain dead after all.

That diagnosis was based in part on EEG, (electroencephalogram), or other tests used to measure electrical activity in the brain, she said.

Snyder, the families attorney declined to name the Guatemalan doctors or their hospital but dismissed the idea that their opinion weighed less than that of American doctors.

“We’re not talking voodoo here,” she told The Post. “They have access to the same equipment as American doctors. Many of them probably have degrees from American medical schools.”

From Guatemala, the family posted more videos in which they said Israel was improving. After 3 months in Guatemala, Israel was accepted as a patient in Children’s Hospital in LA. HOWEVER, within days the hospital once again went to court to remove the ventilator from Israel.

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge removed the restraining order, saying the case had already been decided at state and federal level before the family traveled to Guatemala.

And with that, doctors turned off Israel’s ventilator.

Can you imagine?

  1. Your child pronounced brain dead.
  2. Leave county and improves.
  3. EEG’s and several doctors say your child is NOT brain dead.
  4. LA Children’s Hospital accepts you child back.
  5. You come back ONLY to have the doctor’s go to court and take your child off the ventilator?

I’m sorry but there is something really wrong here. It is the duty of parents to PROTECT their children. 

Please read more details here and here but most of all pray for this grieving family.

“What I really don’t understand is why this hospital agreed to take this little boy in the first place,” she told The Post, saying the boy’s parents never would have brought Israel back to the United States if they had known the hospital was going to pull the plug. “They knew exactly what his condition was, what his treatment was, and they agreed to take him. But it appears they only accepted him as a patient to put him to death. …

Yes, that IS the question, isn’t it?

WHY?

Mirranda Grace Lawson

Mirranda Grace Lawson I spoke to the parents, (Patrick and Allison Lawson) of Mirranda Grace by phone several weeks ago, right after Mirranda had been on life support due to choking on a piece of popcorn. A friend of mine from W. Virginia contacted me.

I was able to connect them to Dr. Paul Byne to help them in their fight to save Mirranda.

Dr. Paul A. Byrne is a Board Certified Neonatologist and Pediatrician. He is the Founder of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center in St. Louis, MO. He is Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at University of Toledo, College of Medicine. He is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics and Fellowship of Catholic Scholars.

Dr. Byrne is past-President of the Catholic Medical Association (USA), formerly Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at St. Louis University in St. Louis, MO and Creighton University in Omaha, NE. He was Professor of Pediatrics and Chairman of the Pediatric Department at Oral Roberts University School of Medicine and Chairman of the Ethics Committee of the City of Faith Medical and Research Center in Tulsa, OK.

Mirranda choked on popcorn on May 11th.  Miranda had a lack of oxygen resulting in her being in an unconscious comatose state but still alive. When a person, especially a young person, is unconscious and on a ventilator, the desire is to get their vital organs for transplantation into others who have a greater lobby.

Within a few days the doctors and hospital were presenting to the parents that Mirranda was “brain dead.” However, they could not confirm “brain death” without doing the crucial and lethal apnea test.

On Thursday, June 9. After the judge heard the testimonies, the judge said he would rule on Friday, June 10. His ruling was that the doctors and the hospital could carry out the testing and evaluation at their discretion.

The judge heard testimony that the removal of the ventilator from Miranda could only harm her and possibly kill her. Yet he ruled that the doctors and the hospital could remove Miranda’s life support.

Parents you must be fully informed and armed with the truth before such a decision is forced upon you at the time of greatest distress.

Part of every declaration “brain death” is the apnea test which is not for the benefit of the patient.  It is the last so-called “clinical” test to achieve the declaration of “brain death.”     

I know you have heard me loud and clear many times on this blog, and it is the first thing I tell people when they call, DO NOT DO THE APNEA TEST.

The need for a ventilator doesn’t mean the brain is permanently incapacitated or ones’ health cannot be restored!  This “life support” device is a supplement to the patient’s compromised, weakened physical condition and is necessary for providing the patient with oxygen while removing carbon dioxide during the most crucial period. Time and continued medical care are necessary for the ongoing treatment to protect and preserve the patient’s life. The ventilator provides the patient and physician this valuable time as it eases the patient’s distressed respiratory system allowing time for therapy and healing.     

Knowing full well how critical the ventilator is, to withdraw it when it is needed most is absurd! Yet, it is planned for the patient to be taken off for up to 10 minutes – the patient can only get worse! This test is sometimes lethal. Make sure to instruct all medical staff:  “DO NOT DO AN APNEA TEST!”

Associate Professor Cicero Galli Coimbra, Head of the Neurology and Neurosurgery Department at the Federal University of Sao Paulo, Brazil has completed the study, “Implications of ischemic penumbra for the diagnosis of brain death. Apnoea testing may induce rather than diagnose brain death”.[20]

The study discovers that where there is brain damage there may be an area of the brain that is destroyed plus an uninjured section (even if there is no apparent function) and between the two a penumbra where brain cells are not functioning but recoverable. In severe cases a person may be wrongly declared “brain stem dead” or “brain dead”.

Coimbra’s research shows that the testing for “brain death” both delays treatment for the patient and that the actual apnoea test may bring on that state.

Coimbra CG (1999) Implications of ischaemic penumbra for the diagnosis of brain death. Brazilian J Med Biol Res; 32:1538-1545 Study available athttp://www.unifesp.br/dneuro/brdeath.html… Accessed 8 May 2007

 Professor Coimbra echoes this wisdom with a knell of mourning:

“… a review of the literature shows that some of even the most severely head-injured patients (GCS of 3 or 4, with pupils fixed to light) who are not subjected to apnoea may recover to normal life. Early labelling of these patients as dead (for transplant purposes) during the past 3 decades has diverted medical researchers away from developing novel therapeutic resources that could already have saved many thousands of human lives throughout the world.”[30]

The family has set up a GoFundMe page for Mirranda. If you can’t donate please pray for the Lawson family and Mirranda Grace.

Success stories of people declared brain dead waking up.

 

 

Source: Judge rules OK to stop ventilator for 10 minutes

Dr. Paul A. Byrne

Dr. Paul A. Byrne is a Board Certified Neonatologist and Pediatrician. He is the Founder of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center in St. Louis, MO. He is Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at The University of Toledo, College of Medicine. He is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics and Fellowship of Catholic Scholars.

Dr. Byrne is past-President of the Catholic Medical Association (USA), formerly Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at St. Louis University in St. Louis, MO and Creighton University in Omaha, NE. He was Professor of Pediatrics and Chairman of the Pediatric Department at Oral Roberts University School of Medicine and Chairman of the Ethics Committee of the City of Faith Medical and Research Center in Tulsa, OK. He is author and producer of the film “Continuum of Life” and author of the books “Life, Life Support and Death”, “Beyond Brain Death,” and “Is ‘Brain Death’ True Death?”

Dr. Byrne has presented testimony on “life issues” to nine state legislatures beginning in 1967. He opposed Dr. Kevorkian on the television program “Cross-Fire.” He has been interviewed on Good Morning America, public television in Japan and participated in the British Broadcasting Corporation Documentary “Are the Donors Really Dead?” Dr. Byrne has authored articles against euthanasia, abortion, and “brain death” in medical journals, law literature and lay press.

Bernice Jones

Bernice Jones is a mom, who lost her son Brandon to Brain death and like me only later found out what brain death was. A legal fiction used to get organs from injured people not yet dead.

Yesterday, I was interviewed with Bernice at Radio Maria’s “The Quest for a Culture of Life in America with Steve Koob,Director One More Soul and Host for “The Quest for a Culture of Life in America”. (The video below is NOT the interview) 

William WilberforceThe Interview

Below is an interview that Dr. Paul Byrne and Bernice Jones did last week on another show. In the interview, you will hear exactly what I have been “trying” to say for years on this blog.

I know it is a bit long but well worth an hour of your time.

 

The most important thing you can do FIRST is DO NOT let the hospital do an Apnea Test. This is the first thing I advise parents who call me or their friends.

Dr. Cicero Coimbra said, “A large number of brain-injured patients, even in deep coma, can recover to lead a normal daily life; their nervous tissue may be only silent, not irreversibly damaged, as a consequence of a partial reduction of the blood supply to the brain.” (This phenomenon, called “ischemic penumbra,” was not known when the first neurological criteria for brain death were established 37 years ago.)

Dr. Yoshio Watanabe,a cardiologist from Nagoya, Japan concurred saying “that if patients were not subjected to the Apnea test, they could have a 60% chance of recovery to a normal life if treated by hypothermia. (deliberately induced cooling)