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The truth behind
organ donation
& transplants

The truth behind organ donation & transplants

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… The truth behind organ donation & organ transplants


Carina Melchior

Carina Melchior , a 19 year old student, suffered severe injuries after crashing her car. Doctors said she would soon be “brain dead” and convinced her family to consent to organ donation. But, as doctors gathered around her bed to prep her for organ donation, she suddenly opened her eyes and moved her legs. Now she is making a full recovery. [more]


Steven Thorpe

Steven Thorpe , 17 year old Warwickshire youth, was declared “brain dead” by four doctors, but his parents did not give up on him, and insisted on another opinion from an independent GP and a neurosurgeon. Steven made an unexpected recovery and left hospital alive seven weeks later. [more]


Zach Dunlap

Zach Dunlap , a 21 year old Oklahoma man, was “feeling pretty good” four months after he was diagnosed as “brain dead”. Ironically, Zach heard the doctors pronounce him dead, but was unable to do anything about it. A few days later, he revived and spoke to his family. [more]


Sam Schmid

Sam Schmid , a 21 year old Arizona college student, was critically wounded in a five-car accident. Surgeons thought he had no hope of recovery and broached organ donation with his family. Sam was poised to ‘donate’ his vital organs, when he suddenly emerged from a coma. He has since had rehabilitation and walks with the aid of a walker. [more]


Val Thomas

Val Thomas , 59 year old West Virginia woman, came back to life, after being clinically “brain dead” for 17 hours. Attempts to revive her after a heart attack had failed, and doctors diagnosed her as “brain dead”. Later “she moved her arm, coughed and asked for her son.” ... she was alive. [more]


Gloria Cruz

Gloria Cruz , 56 year old Northern Territory woman, was declared “brain dead” and expected to ‘die’ within 48 hours. A doctor, a social worker and a ‘patient advocate’ urged her husband to remove the ventilator and let her ‘die’. But he refused and 3 days later, Gloria revived, awoke from her coma and was getting around hospital in a wheelchair. [more]


Madeleine Gauron

Madeleine Gauron , a 76 year old Quebec woman, was diagnosed by medical staff as “brain dead”, with no hope of recovery. Doctors asked if the family would agree to organ donation, but the family asked for more medical tests. The next day, astonishingly, she awakened and sat up in bed and ate yogurt. [more]


Rae Kupferschmidt

Rae Kupferschmidt , 65 year old Minnesota woman, suffered a massive cerebral haemorrhage and doctors diagnosed her as “brain dead”. She was taken home to die and her family began making funeral arrangements. When Rae spontaneously sucked an ice cube offered by her daughter, she was found to be alive. She later walked. [more]


Suzanne Chin

Suzanne Chin suffered cardiac arrest and collapsed into unconsciousness. Taken to hospital, she remained in a coma and the head of ICU, two neurologists & a cardiologist said she was brain-dead with no hope of recovery. But her husband refused to turn of her life support. 3 days later, Suzanne revived & is now well & very much ALIVE. [more]

eBook: Nasty Side of Organ Transplants

NY Hospital Suppresses News Of BD Survivor

Lawyer Declared “Brain Dead” Revives

Organ Donors Legally Alive: Medical Ethicist

Denmark: Young Woman Refused to Die

Lawsuit: Organs Taken From Living Patients

Poised to Donate Organs, 21-Year-Old Revives

Shock: experts say death of donor not required

No ‘moral certainty’ on brain death

Jewish authority rejects brain death

Miniature human livers grown in laboratory

Card protects from ‘presumed consent’

Vegetative brains show some awareness

Donors not dead when organs removed

Vatican call to reconsider brain death

News & Quotes

NEWS: New York Hospital Suppresses News Of “Brain Death” Survivor: Fined USD $6000

Colleen S. Burns, was admitted to St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center in Syracuse following a suspected drug overdose.

She was in a deep coma and doctors declared her “brain dead”.

Hospital staff convinced the family to give permission to take her off life support and harvest her organs. Yet, one day before Burns’ organs were to be removed, a nurse noticed the patient’s toes curled from the simple reflex test of running a finger along her foot. This and other signs of life were ignored.

As surgery was about to begin, Colleen Burns opened her eyes and gazed up at the bright lights overhead. Her spontaneous revival saved her from true death by organ harvesting. (more)

NEWS: Lawyer Declared “Brain Dead” Revives

Hong Kong lawyer, Suzanne Chin, suffered cardiac arrest one day in 2009 and lapsed into a coma. She was taken to hospital and found to have heart problems and unrecordable blood pressure. She was stablised and placed in ICU, but the following day: “the respiratory physician again advised that there was no improvement and confirmed that Suzanne had brain stem death (BSD).”.

The head of ICU, two neurologists and a cardiologist said she was brain-dead with no hope of recovery. They pressured her husband to “put Suzanne – and ourselves – out of our misery by switching off machines that were keeping her alive.”

Three days later she revived spontaneously… Today she is alive and well and continues to practise law. (more)

Organ Donors May Be Legally Alive When Organs Harvested: Medical Ethicist Says   [EXPAND]

Melbourne, October 2012: A respected Australian medical ethicist claims in a new book that patients in intensive care are being declared “brain dead” for organ donation purposes while they may still be legally alive. Professor Nicholas Tonti-Filippini says that medical practice has moved ahead of the law, and is now using an unlawful and unethical standard of “brain death”, based simply on loss of consciousness of the patient. This new pliable definition had “crept in gradually” and allows organ harvesting from patients who still have mid-brain functions, which enable the brain to control certain bodily functions, such as hormone production and blood pressure. Prof. Tonti-Filippini’ claims are endorsed by leading Melbourne doctor, Professor James Tibballs, a Deputy Director of Intensive Care at Royal Children’s Hospital, who says that the current ANZICS test for “brain death” is neither legal nor ethical, and that MOST donors cannot be proven to be truly dead when organs are removed!

NEWS: Young woman refused to die

A young woman is alive and well, one year after doctors in Denmark claimed she would soon be “brain dead” and prepared to harvest her organs.

Carina Melchior suffered severe injuries after crashing her car in Denmark in October 2011. Doctors said that she was virtually “brain dead” and convinced her family to consent to organ donation. Today she is making a full recovery and is able to walk and talk and ride her pony. (more)

Lawsuit Against Donor Network Alleges Organs Taken From Living Patients   [EXPAND]

New York, September 2012: A whistleblower has filed a lawsuit against The New York Organ Donor Network, claiming that they pressured hospital staffers to declare patients ‘brain dead’ so their body parts could be harvested while they are still alive. He says one in five patients is showing signs of brain activity when surgeons declare them dead and start hacking out their body parts… “They’re playing God,” said plaintiff Patrick McMahon, 50, an Air Force combat veteran and nurse practitioner who claims he was fired as a transplant coordinator after just four months for protesting the practice. McMahon’s suit cites four cases, in late 2011, of patients showing signs of brain activity, whom he says could have recovered, but whom doctors declared ‘brain dead’ so they could be dissected for their vital organs. He says transplant coordinators who collect the most organs can earn Christmas bonuses.

Poised to Donate Organs, 21-Year-Old Emerges From Coma[EXPAND]

Phoenix, December 2011: Sam Schmid, an Arizona college student BELIEVED TO BE BRAIN DEAD and POISED TO BE AN ORGAN DONOR, has recovered just hours before doctors were considering taking him off life support. Schmid was critically wounded in a five-car accident in Tucson, Arizona (October 19).Sam Schmid in wheelchair after being considered brain dead The 21-year-old’s brain injuries were so severe that the local hospital could not treat him. He was airlifted to the Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Phoenix, where specialists performed surgery for a life-threatening aneurysm. Doctors broached the subject of organ donation with his family, but his mother asked for Sam to be given another week. His surgeon, Dr. Robert Spetzler, recommended keeping him alive for one more week. On October 24 Schmid began to respond, holding up two fingers on command. Today, he is walking with the aid of a walker, and his speech, although slow, has improved. He went home on Christmas Day. (my emphasis).- ... -( Extract from ABC News article by Susan Donaldson James, Dec 22 2011: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/arizona-accident-victim-emerges-coma-poised-donate-organs/story?id=15208351 )

Shock: requiring death before organ donation is unnecessary, say experts   [EXPAND]

Toronto, November 2011: Because organ donors are often alive when their organs are harvested, the medical community should not require donors to be declared dead, but instead adopt more “honest” moral criteria that allow the harvesting of organs from “dying” or “severely injured” patients, with proper consent, three leading experts have argued. ... The authors state frankly that under current practices donors may be technically still alive when organs are harvested – a necessary condition to produce healthy, living organs. Because of this, they say that protocol requiring a donor’s death is “dangerously misleading,” and could overlook the well-being of the donor who may still be able to suffer during the harvesting procedure. (Extract from Life Site News http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/shock-requiring-death-before-organ-donation-is-unnecessary-say-experts )

No ‘moral certainty’ that brain death is really death

Patient on life supportRome, February 2011: A prominent American professor of Catholic medical ethics says said that there is no ‘moral certitude’ that a patient is really dead when the ‘brain death’ criteria are used. Professor E. Christian Brugger is a Senior Fellow of Ethics at the Culture of Life Foundation. He said that the validity of ‘brain death’ is based on a “scientific premise that such and such empirical indicators correspond to an absence of human life.” In fact, he says, ‘brain dead’ patients on ventilator support “have been shown to undergo respiration at the cellular level… assimilate nutrients… fight infection and foreign bodies… maintain homeostasis… eliminate, detoxify and recycle cell waste throughout the body… maintain body temperature… grow proportionately… heal wounds… exhibit cardiovascular and hormonal stress responses to noxious stimuli such as incisions… gestate a fetus… and even undergo puberty.” In other words, ‘brain death’ criteria are not accurate in signifying that death has occurred, and fail to meet Pope John Paul’s definition of real death as “the total disintegration of that unity and integrated whole that is the personal self.” (Extract from Life Site News http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/no-moral-certainty-that-brain-death-is-really-death-prominent-catholic-ethi)

Orthodox Jewish Authority Rejects ‘Brain-stem Death’

London, January 2011: Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and his rabbinical court (London Beth Din) has issued an edict rejecting the ‘brain-stem death’ as a legitimate definition of death. They say that it is incompatible with Jewish law and they only accept the traditional halachic definition of cardio-respiratory failure. (Halacha is the collective body of Jewish law). (Extract from ‘The Lancet’, Vol 377, January 22, 2011 http://www.thelancet.com)

Miniature human livers grown in laboratory

October 2010: Scientists have taken a leap towards creating bespoke organs for patients after successfully growing miniature human livers in the laboratory. ...The US scientists created the walnut sized organs by sowing seeds of human cells onto scaffolds derived from animal livers. The original cells were then replaced with immature human liver cells before being fed nutrients and oxygen in a bioreactor. The researchers said that after a week in the laboratory bioreactor, the livers seemed to be growing and functioning like a normal human organ. Dr Pedro Baptista, from the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, said: “Our hope is that once these organs are transplanted, they will maintain and gain function as they continue to develop.” In future it is hoped that stem cells donated by patients could be used to grow replacement livers that would not be rejected by the immune system. The same approach to bioengineering may also help doctors grow other organs, such as the kidney and pancreas. (Extract from article by Richard Gray, Science Correspondent, The Telegraph (UK), 30 Oct 2010 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/8098558/Miniature-human-livers-grown-in-laboratory.html) {OrganFacts Comment: This medical research has the potential to create an ethical source of organs, using adult stem cells, thus eliminating the ‘need’ for organ harvesting.}

Card Protects You from ‘Presumed Consent’ Organ Harvesting Medical aid card by the Life Guardian Foundation

October 2010: Dr Paul Byrne of the Life Guardian Foundation (US) has developed a card to ensure doctors respect a person’s wish to live a natural lifespan and not be harvested for organs. Dr Paul Byrne is a leading opponent of the notion of ‘brain death’. He argues that ‘brain death’ is not in fact real death, but rather a set of criteria that were developed to enable doctors to harvest healthy vital organs from dying patients (who are still alive). With the increasingly aggressive push for organ harvesting (eg: by transplant teams), Dr Paul Byrne warns that it is essential for people to protect themselves from presumed consent laws operating in many US states and some other countries. His medical card documents a person’s refusal in regard to organ donation, and documents that they do not want anybody to shorten their life or hasten their death or use the apnoea test. He suggests that people carry the medical card with them. Cards can be obtained from the The Life Guardian Foundation. (Extract from Life Site News http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/archive/ldn/2010/oct/10102204)

Vegetative brains shows signs of awareness

New York (AP), March 2010: Scientists have detected glimmers of awareness in some vegetative brain-injury patients and have even communicated with one of them - findings that push the boundaries of how to assess and care for such people. ...New research (from Belgium and Britain) suggests that standard tests may overlook patients who have some consciousness, and that someday some kind of communication may be possible. In the strongest example, a 29-year-old patient was able to answer yes-or-no questions by visualising specific scenes the doctors asked him to imagine. The two visualisations sparked different brain activity viewed through a scanning machine. “We were stunned when this happened,” said one study author, Martin Monti of Medical Research Council Cognitive and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge, England. “I find it literally amazing. This was a patient who was believed to be vegetative for five years.” (Extract from USA Today http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2010-02-03-brain-vegetative-coma_N.htm)

Donors not truly ‘dead’when organs removed

Melbourne, October 2008: MOST organ donors in Australia are not truly dead when their organs are taken and often transplant procedures do not conform with the law, a leading Melbourne doctor has argued (my emphasis). ... Associate Professor James Tibballs, a pediatric intensive care specialist at the Royal Children’s Hospital, has called for a review of organ donation guidelines to ensure donors know that their organs can be taken when they are DYING and NOT YET DEAD (my emphasis). ... In a controversial article, published in the Journal of Law and Medicine this month, Dr Tibballs said clinical practice clashed with the law, which says organs can be taken from a donor when they have either irreversible cessation of all functions of their brain or irreversible cessation of blood circulation. Dr Tibballs said clinical guidelines commonly used to diagnose brain death could not prove irreversible cessation of brain function, and that the concept of brain death introduced into Australian law in 1977 was a “convenient fiction” that had allowed the development of organ transplantation. ... Furthermore, Dr Tibballs said some interventions to ensure the viability of organs could actually HARM or CAUSE THE DEATH OF THE DONOR (my emphasis).- ... - (Extract from article by Julia Medew, Health Reporter, Published in “The Age”,Melbourne, October 20, 2008)

Vatican Newspaper says Brain Death and Organ Donation must reconsidered.

Vatican, September 2008: The Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano says that a declaration of ‘brain death’ cannot be considered the end of life in light of new scientific research. The editorial by Prof. Lucetta Scaraffia of the Italian National Committee of Bio-Ethics notes that the ‘brain death’ criteria of death was accepted… “with many reservations”, when it was put forward 40 years ago by the Harvard Medical School. She points out that new scientific findings are raising questions about so-called ‘brain death’. A case in question is that of a woman, declared ‘brain dead’, who was still able to bring an unborn child to birth while on life support. (Extract from Life Site News http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/archive/ldn/2008/sep/08090310)

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