Archives For Dr. Alan Shewman

Michigan fansToday is the third annual Be a Hero Blood and Organ Donation drive at the Big House.

The Be a Hero at the Big House event is sponsored by Wolverines for Life, a collaboration between the U-M Health System, Michigan Athletics and other University of Michigan groups, schools and departments, along with the American Red Cross, Be the Match/National Marrow Donor Program, Gift of Life Michigan and the Michigan Eye-Bank.

Last year, the donor drive drew more than 800 people who donated 230 pints of blood. The event resulted in 110 people joining the organ donor registry and 96 being screened as potential donors.

This is the beginning of the fall challenge between the Ohio State Buckeye’s and the Michigan Wolverines. Last year Michigan won in the organ donation sign ups and the Buckeyes’ won in the blood donation.

Can I say, this is one challenge I hope Michigan loses ?

  • Will the students and community be given any information on what the definition of death is? Definition of death 
  • Will they be informed that if they are dead in the sense we all think of it…true death…their organs can not be harvested? The organs must be vital or alive to be transplanted.
  • Will they be told that death must be pronounced before they take their organs according to the dead donor rule?
  • Will they be told that brain death is a legal medical fiction devised to get more organs from severely injured patients and not dead ones?
  • Will they be told that if they are considered brain dead that they will be cut open down the middle of their bodies without any anesthesia?


They will be told that they are giving the gift of life, they will be told that by donating “after” they die they will help another person live?

Dr. Robert Truog, associate professor of anesthesia at Harvard Medical School, published in the Hastings Center Report of January-February 1997  “Is It Time to Abandon brain death?”

“there is evidence that many individuals who fulfill all of the tests for brain death do not have the ‘permanent cessation of functioning of the entire brain.”‘ The concept of brain death is “incoherent in theory and confused in practice,” Truog continues, and so he recommends a return to the traditional definition of death, based on cessation of respiration and circulation rather than neurological criteria.

Brain death is a legal fiction created to support the need for more organs. Legal in that it is the law,fiction in that it is not true.

Regardless of the UDDA which defined death in the United States Dr. Alan D Shewmon has compiled a list of life processes that brain-dead patients continues to exhibit: 

  • Cellular wastes continue to be eliminated, detoxified, and recycled.
  • Body temperature is maintained, though at a lower than normal temperature and with the help of blankets.
  • Wounds heal.
  • Infections are fought by the body.
  • Infections produce fever.
  • Organs and tissues continue to function.
  • Brain-dead pregnant women can deliver a baby.
  • Brain-dead children mature sexually and grow proportionately.

Richard Pietroski, CEO of Gift of Life Michigan and Chair of the UNOS Organ Procurement Organization Committee said 86% of all deceased organ donations last year in the United States came from brain dead patients. The remaining 14% were donors after cardiac death (DCD). CNN Quote

Nope, I won’t be at the Big House today signing up to donate my organs, but hundreds probably will and never know the truth of what they give up when they sign the donor card. 


GO BLUE!  (Except in this case)