Archives For Brain death

Life Site News Article

Definition of Irreversible Coma
A Definition of Irreversible Coma

LifeSite News Article

Is it morally permissible to harvest the organs of a person in a coma declared “brain dead” by doctors? 

Why and when did organ transplantation first come about?

And what is the Church’s teaching on using organs from a person deemed to be “brain dead”?

Doyen Nguyen, M.D., S.T.L., is a physician specialized in hematopathology and a moral theologian. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in theology at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in Rome. Her research is quite extensive and it is featured on

Doyen Nguyen during an in-depth interview with the Italian magazine Radici Cristiane (Link), where she blames a “consumerist culture” for causing many to accept the idea of “brain death,” a term she refers to as an incoherent, “medical fiction.

Nguyen refutes the invention of the term “brain death” to describe someone in an “irreversible coma” by arguing that the term “irreversible coma” itself “indicates that the patient is alive, for the simple reason that only a living person can become comatose or remain comatose. In other words, it would be an oxymoron to say that a corpse is in coma!”

When a doctor declares a comatose patient to be dead, that patient does not thereby become dead, she said. 

Well worth the time to read the entire article on LifeSite News.

Surprising Realty of Brain Death

This is a short video that speaks of one families hospital reality which is similar to what we experienced with my son, Jamie. Different outcome, their mom survived, but wow it is as if it is a movie script, that these OPO’s (Organ Procurement Organizations) are taught.

Surprising Realities of Brain Death

A couple of other things stood out to me in the article:

  1. The opening statement in the Harvard report which states: “Our primary purpose is to define irreversible coma as a new criterion for death.” Note however, the term “irreversible coma” itself indicates that the patient is alive, for the simple reason that only a living person can become comatose or remain comatose. In other words, it would be an oxymoron to say that a corpse is in coma!
  2. A nurse’s comment: What much of the public does not understand is that when they go into “harvest” those organs from a loved one, it will not be done after the person has physically died, (respirations and heart rate have both ceased, etc) or at a time when that person would no longer be capable of physically feeling that pain, but will be done when their body is still physically very much alive and they still will have the capacity to feel painful stimuli. The surgeons want “viable organs” and that means taking them when the host is still physically alive and tissue death has not yet set in or begun to happen. The thought of a loved one lying on that operating table, not able to speak, but very much feeling terrible pain as they are being dissected or cut into and their organs removed for harvesting is too terrible to even contemplate and I do not think that I would ever consent to such a thing for a loved one.

“Brain Death” is under scrutiny as more and more doctors understand that the public is becoming aware of the ethical, legal and medical controversies surrounding “brain death” and questions are being asked.

I haven’t given up on exposing the horrible diagnosis of “brain death” or my son’s story of what we went through.

University of Nevada student Hanna Lottritz was mistaken for “brain-dead” after she fell into a coma last July following a round of binge drinking.

The 20-year-old’s story is a cautionary tale for alcohol abuse, but also for the danger inherent in the contentious concept of “brain death.”

Lottritz, who turned 21 last Wednesday, said on her blog she would not be doing any shots or getting wasted to celebrate coming of legal age, and she advocated for responsible drinking, because, she said, “I don’t want anyone to go through what my family went through.”

The journalism student chugged an entire Solo cup of whiskey at a music festival last summer. She collapsed five minutes later and then had to be intubated and life-flighted to the hospital in critical condition.”I was in critical condition, suffering from acute respiratory failure and acute alcohol intoxication,” she said. “My blood alcohol concentration was .41 when I arrived at the hospital, five times over the legal limit.”

“The doctors thought I was brain dead because I was completely unresponsive,” Lottritz continued. “My pupils were sluggishly reactive, I had no corneal reflex and I wasn’t responding to verbal or painful stimuli.”

Doctors initially didn’t expect her to make it through the night, but she woke up 24 hours later.

Lottritz’s waking up so soon after her injury is where her case departs from so many others with patients who remain unresponsive for a period of time, falling into the dangerous scenario of being presumed dead, especially when medical facilities or family members are quick to remove treatment or there is a push to harvest organs.

The question of determining when a person is brain-dead has been the subject of considerable controversy for some time, with disagreement over the legal definition of brain death.

Read more here:


Source: Doctors thought 20-year-old was ‘brain dead’ after birthday binge drinking: they were wrong | News | Lifesitenews

Death of the brain is not the death of a human being

Human Brain Today I read an article on Medscape by Charles Camosy entitled Death of the Brain is not the Death of a Human Being. I encourage you to read the entire post.

I have been saying this for the past two years and it is refreshing to be able to find a public post like this on a well-known web-site.

Excerpts from the article:

It has now become an article of faith in the medical community of the developed West that a patient has died when his or her brain is dead. But there is good reason to think that not all human organisms with dead brains are also dead as human organisms.

Consider that in many cases when first being cut open to harvest her organs, the “dead” patient reacts strongly to the incision — with heart rate and blood pressure increasing dramatically (at least until a general anesthetic is given). Some “dead” patients also have pituitary function after brain death, as well as functioning of the spinal cord, and both can help to integrate the human organism and help her achieve homeostasis.

Some scientists and medical professionals are beginning to realize that the current brain death criterion just doesn’t fit the science or their current practices. For instance, a recent Nature editorial argues that “the law should be changed to describe more accurately and honestly the way death is determined in clinical practice.Nature quote.

Anatomically and physiologically during life there is an interdependence of organs and systems maintaining the unity (oneness) of the body. In an organism as complicated as a human being, no one should be pronounced dead unless and until there is destruction of at least the major vital systems of the body, i.e., the circulatory and respiratory systems, and the entire brain. Dr.Paul Byrne

In 2008, the New England Journal of Medicine printed an article that frankly argued that “brain death” is a sham. The article, co-authored by Dr. Robert D. Truog, a professor of medical ethics and anesthesia (pediatrics) in the Departments of Anesthesia and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, said the scientific literature does not support the criteria for ‘brain death’ and ‘cardiac death’ as being real death. “Although it may be ethical to remove vital organs from these patients, we believe that the reason it is ethical cannot convincingly be that the donors are dead.”

So open has the “brain death” secret become in medical circles that some are urging that such criteria simply be dropped. Dr. Neil Lazar, director of the medical-surgical intensive care unit at Toronto General Hospital, Dr. Maxwell J. Smith of the University of Toronto, and David Rodriguez-Arias of Universidad del Pais Vasco in Spain, admitted at a major conference that the pretense should be ended and that organs should be allowed to be removed from “dying” or “severely injured” patients.

This more “honest” approach, they said, would avoid the problems created by purely ideological definitions of death that are known to be mere pretexts to expand the organ donor pool.

The Ethical Question

Here is the bottom line and the questions you need to reconcile for yourself amid all the debate and controversy. Not only for yourself but if you are a parent you must explain to your children before they have a donor card signed.

1) What constitutes a human being to you?

2) Should one person die who is severely injured to give a potentially healthy life to some who will die without a transplant?

3) Do you feel that people signing up to be donors should be TOLD legal definition of death so they know they are not truly dead in the traditional understanding of death?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the above questions, especially if you have been following my blog.

Dr.Richard NilgesYesterday I wrote on Dr.Richard Niles and posted an entire chapter from his book The Death of the Brain, with permission from his son. The late Dr. Richard Nilges, retired from neurosurgery at age 64, something he states he had not planned to do. He was 80 when he contributed to the book Beyond Brain Death.

Committed as I was to the seriously injured or a very sick patient under my care, whether he or she was brain dead or not, I had to literally fight the transplant teams.

One case he recalled was when a transplant team was called to the community hospital without his knowledge and before he was ready to call brain death on an unconscious patient who had been in a motor cycle accident. He dismissed the transplant coordinator and his “team.” He continued to treat the young man’s brain swelling and he walked out of the hospital and returned to college.

Dr. Nilges talks about the slippery slope we have grown into with organ transplants.  He grew weary of being at loggerheads with his patient’s needs and the transplant teams.  To preserve a suitable kidney for transplantation the transplant technicians would demand that he order intravenous fluid overload. Knowing that more fluid would overload the brain swelling of an already injured brain he would refuse, knowing it would cause further injury.

Dr. Nilges commitment was to his patient and not a faceless patient on a waiting list.

The real challenge came to him when he started to see the media spewing transplant propaganda and families beginning to demand that he “put their love one’s out of suffering”, knowing full well his unconscious patients were not suffering or brain dead. Therefore he left his beloved field of neurosurgery. He increasingly saw advocates of transplanting were never satisfied and began to whittle away the Harvard Criteria, and stopped using EEG’s that still showed brain activity.

Transplant coordinators made sweeping claims to neurosurgeons all over the country that transplant surgery was the highest point of modern surgery. Yet he knew the benefit simply did not fit the facts.

He felt the supreme contempt for the human condition had developed, from man a little lower than the angels, that we had slipped to man, dying but not yet dead, the “heart beating donor”, source of spare parts for the fortunate.

I am thankful that Dr. Richard Nilges words live on in the book, Beyond Brain DeathBeyond Brain Death