Archives For organ donations

Brain death is a means the harvesting organs

The concept of “brain death”, was adopted in 1968 at Harvard University by 13 men known as the Ad Hoc Committee. Since then proclaiming someone brain death become an acceptable law for pronouncing death and harvesting “vital” organs.

I use the word vital, because vital means LIFE. Your organs must be vital to be harvested. A person who has truly died their organs can NOT be harvested.

Organ donor keeper

I feel sorry for kids who walk in to get their driver’s license and sign a legal document to donate, believing they are donating after death. I feel even more sorry for the families who will have an organ donor card shoved in their face if their child is pronounced “brain dead”.

Dr. Henry Beecher, chair of the Harvard Committee, shared the Harvard’s Committee “true intent” when he stated,

“There is indeed a life-saving potential in the new definition, for, when accepted, it will lead to greater availability than formerly of essential organs in viable condition, for transplantation, and thus countless lives now inevitably lost will be saved…At whatever level we choose to call death, it is an arbitrary decision. Death of the heart? The hair still grows. Death of the brain? The heart may still beat. The need is to choose a level where the brain no longer functions. It is best to choose a level where, although the brain is dead, usefulness of other organs is still present. This we have tried to make clear in what we have called the new definition of death.” Henry K. Beecher and H. I. Dorr, “The New Definition of Death: Some Opposing Views,” International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 5 (1971):120


In 1978, President Jimmy Carter appointed a committee to study ethical problems in medicine and biomedical and behavioral research. The committee defined death as “the moment in which the body’s physiological system ceases to constitute and integrated whole.”

The Presidential Committee opted away from a person oriented view and chose instead a definition of death that says a person is not a person anymore when their brain ceases to function. They decided on a theory that the brain is the source of integration to be a person.The Presidential Committee decided the brain is the critical organ that controls all bodily systems and when the brain stops functioning the rest of the body is unable to survive.

However, that is not true.

It is wildly known that people who have lost brain function in certain area’s of the brain continue to maintain functions in other parts. One example of this is people who with the help of a ventilator use their diaphragm muscles to operate the air going into their lungs.

A ventilator can not make a person to breathe, it only aids them in breathing until they have time to heal.

A corpse can not be hooked up to ventilator and breathe.

Or in the case of Christopher Reeves, live a productive life with the help of ventilator support. Anyone think Christopher Reeves should have been killed and his organs taken?

  • Brain dead pregnant woman have delivered babies 
  • Brain dead patients can circulate blood 
  • Brain dead patients can excrete waste 
  • Brain dead patients can maintain temperature

Dr. Alan Shewmon, Professor of Professor of Pediatric Neurology at UCLA has over 175 documented case studies of people called “brain dead” surviving for long periods of time. He advocates that it is not the brain anymore than any other bodily system that makes a person a person. No one part of the body controls all the other parts of the body.

Dr. Shewmon writes in “Brain Death and Death: A Critical Re-Evaluation of the Purported Evidence, Issues in Law and Medicine 14, no 2) 1998) that:

This data on brain death teach us several lessons: (1) “Brain death” does not necessarily lead to imminent cardiac arrest despite all treatment. (2) The heterogeneity of survival duration is largely explainable by non-brain factors. Moreover, the process of brain damage leading up to “brain death” frequently induces secondary damage to heart and lungs. Therefore, the tendency to early cardiac arrest in the majority of patients is attributable more to somatic factors than to mere absence of brain activity per se. (3) The first few weeks are especially precarious. But those who make it through tend to stabilize, no longer requiring sophisticated technological support. Some have even been discharged home on a ventilator. Although some personhood-consciousness reductionist might try to argue that these are not human persons, no one can seriously claim that they are not living human organisms, living human beings.

Death and Donation: Rethinking Brain Death as a Means of Procuring Transplantable Organs by Scott Henderson Brain death is a legal fiction

In a study published in the Journal of Medical Ethics, by Seema K. Shah, Dept of Bioethics,National Institute of Health and Robert Troug, Harvard University division of Medical Ethics, and Robert Miller, Dept of Bioethics, National Institute of Health wrote:

Advances in life-saving technologies in the past few decades have challenged our traditional understandings of death. Traditionally, death was understood to occur when a person stops breathing, their heart stops beating and they are cold to the touch. Today, physicians determine death by relying on a diagnosis of ‘total brain failure’ or by waiting a short while after circulation stops. 

Evidence has emerged, however, that the conceptual basis for these approaches to determining death are fundamentally flawed and depart substantially from the established biological conception of death. We argue that the current approach to determining death consists of two different types of unacknowledged legal fictions. 

These legal fictions were developed for practices that are largely ethically legitimate but need to be reconciled with the law. The considerable debate over the definition of death in the medical and scientific literature has not informed the public that vital organs are being procured from still-living donors and it seems unlikely that this information can remain hidden for long.  Bolded my me. 

It is morally wrong to kill one person to save the life of another person. Every person who donates their organs is a living person.

This legal fiction must be exposed, the truth must come out.  Will you please join me in exposing the deception of brain death by sending your friends and family here?

Flickr Photo Credit, creative commons license. 

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Melissa Gallaher Story

March 18, 2013 — 7 Comments

Melissa Gallaher Story

Melissa Gallaher photoMelissa Gallaher is the 25-year-old daughter of Carolyn Gallaher who was crossing the street in Ft. Collins, Colorado when she was hit by a car.

She was taken by ambulance to a hospital 14 miles away from where the accident occurred instead of a Trauma Center which was only 1.2 miles away.


Melissa’s mom said, “I thought in real emergencies, minutes and seconds counted. Why would you deprive the patient of a trauma doctor versus EMT, ambulance versus hospital, bag masked versus a ventilator, blood versus no blood, CSF drain versus no CSF drain, hypothermia therapy versus no hypothermia therapy, HBOT versus no HBOT. When you finally arrive at the hospital 14 minutes away you have been deprived of precious medical care, so your condition becomes grave.”

The Pressure to Get Melissa’s Organs

After the accident the hospital called Melissa’s parents on the phone in Oklahoma and told them “your daughter is “brain dead,” and then they asked,“Have you considered organ donation”?

Melissa’s father told the doctors, “my wife is on her way.”

In fact Carolyn was 10 hours away.

The distraught mother arrived, the doctor appears mournful, shakes his head and tells her that her brain is swollen.

Melissa’s mother asked, “what about drilling holes in the skull to relieve pressure.”

The doctor says, “No that will not help.”

“I want to go see my daughter,” Carolyn says. So she walks into Melissa’s room, and to her utter surprise her daughter is alive.

I start talking to her because they tell you to talk them because they say she can hear you. I tell her that I am here, everything is going to be okay, I love her and she is going to make it. I ask her to move her toe to let me know she is there, and she does. The baby one and the one next to it. She did this four times.

Carolyn is standing by her daughter, feeling pretty good, because her daughter looks amazing for just being hit by a car. All her limbs are intact, she is breathing, and she is told that all Melissa’s major organs were unharmed. Every time the doctors scraped the bottom of her feet she pulled it away.

Yet the doctors told her, “This is insignificant, it is spinal reflex.”

Carolyn thought to herself, “Why do it, if it is insignificant?”

Carolyn’s Aunt and Uncle who arrived at the hospital with her went to speak to the doctors at the nurse’s station while Carolyn went back to see Melissa.

They walked back into Melissa’s room after speaking to the doctors and told Melissa’s mother that the doctors were looking up Melissa’s Oklahoma drivers license to see if it complied with her Colorado drivers license, they wanted to make sure “both” designated her to be a donor.

Within 15 minutes after a 10 hour trip to the hospital, Carolyn is being told that Melissa Gallaher is an organ donor.

What does that mean?

I just got here, she is alive, and can’t I believe for a miracle? I am not ready to let her go, she is alive, she is breathing, and I am talking to her. What do you mean? You want to take her organs? She cannot live without her organs. I tell them I am believing for a miracle, that my daughter will survive.

When she reviewed  the medical reports later she read that her daughter contracted her thigh muscle when they applied toe nail bed pressure. This is significant because the thigh muscle is a skeletal muscle and is only activated by the cortex of the brain. This does not confirm brain death, in fact it is just the opposite of brain death confirmation.

Other signs of life in Melissa included:

  • She started her menstrual cycle (that is controlled by the hypothalamus in the brain) 
  • Her temperature was constant
  • Melissa raised herself off the bed 3 times
  • One nurse said she breathed over the ventilator  (the ventilator only pushes air into the lungs) 
  • The day before she died she coughed and breathed over the machine
  • She did not tolerate the repositioning in the bed (this means you are feeling pain)

Carolyn told them she was getting a lawyer.

They told her they were bringing in the Ethic’s committee.

Carolyn invited a lawyer to sit in on the Ethics committee meeting. They go before the Ethics Committee, and Carolyn tells them,”from the minute I arrive before I even get to love on my daughter,they have plans to kill her, just like that.”

The Ethics committee meeting ended by them saying, “we can keep our daughters organs, and they are now off the table.”

Melissa’s mom never knew they were on the table, but the medical report says that there was an “ongoing plan to donate her organs” even before brain death was documented.

In fact, “brain death” was never documented.

Melissa Gallaher Victory or Not?

Carolyn thought everything was going to be okay. It was only later, while reviewing the medical records she found out Melissa did NOT get any nourishment.

“I learned that they did not give supportive care, supportive care is the end of life care, pain management and nutrition, Melissa got neither. If you do not get food, you will die especially when you are weak, in trauma and shock”.

There are so many things wrong in how Melissa was treated at the hospital. It would take a book to write it all out and I hope Carolyn, Melissa’s mom does.

One of the reasons for this blog and my future book, is to alert parents on what to expect if your child or loved one is in a accident and taken to a hospital in a traumatic situation. Yes, you will be pressured to donate their organs.

If they have signed the Organ Donor card, it is a legally binding document if you are 18 and over.

Carolyn made a fuss and stopped the harvesting of Melissa’s organs.

Carolyn, (like myself) has learned a lot about organ donation since the death of her daughter.

Melissa Gallaher’s mom’s own words about Organ Donation:

The operation will take six hours, you do not get anesthesia, and your heart beat on the monitor will go from a normal pace to a frantic pace, from 100 to 200 beats a minute. You could have a heart attack because your heart is beating so fast. And if you do and you die, they will resuscitate you back to life. Then you will perspire; tighten your tummy to protect your viscera, your vital organs. Then the surgeon will say give him some pancuronium in the stomach, to relax their muscles so I can cut through it ( by the way these stomach muscles are skeletal muscles, skeletal muscles are controlled by the brain that is supposed to be dead) then the surgeon will take the knife in his hands and he will stab you in the thoracic cavity, then he will run the knife from your neck to the pelvis area.

You will begin to move your legs, the surgeon will tell them to zap you with some more pancuronium, so the onlookers will not be upset as to how you are squirming. (Shame on the donor for squirming and feeling pain.) Then your heart beat will stop because the surgeon has clamped it off, but you are still alive because you are breathing and your heart is beating. Then he cuts the heart out, you die. Then the scavengers come in, they will de skull, de-skin, de-vein, de-bone you… worse than a chicken your body will be savaged. Then they will sew the skin back up, you will look like Frankenstein.


***If you would like to tell your story here, please contact me as I would love to publish it.*** It is time for the truth to be told by those of us who have experienced the pressure to donate.


Read more about Melissa Gallaher here. Join Carolyn’s Facebook group on Anti-Organ Donation 



This story was written by Carolyn Gallaher, I have not read the medical records, I have only spoken to Carolyn on the phone and via email about her experience. These are her own words and experience. I have edited for clarity.