Is Anybody There?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says Yahweh Sabaoth" Zach 4:6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dio di Signore, nella Sua volontà è nostra pace!" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin 1759

Friday, April 27, 2012

Why "Brain Dead" Should NOT Be Used to Determine a Person Is Really Dead

The young man pictured above is Stephen Thorpe. The 21 year old is studying accounting at a local university in the Leichester England area. 4 years ago he  was in a medically-induced coma following a multi-car pileup that had already taken the life of his friend Matthew, who was driving the vehicle.
As The Daily Mail describes it "The schoolboy was traveling in a Rover with two friends in February 2008 when a stray horse ran into the path of the car in front of them. His friend Matthew Jones, 18, was killed in the accident. Steven suffered serious injuries to his face, head and arm, and was declared brain dead two days later."
It was a team of four physicians who insisted that his son was “brain-dead” following the wreck, His parents, John & Janet Thorpe, rejected their advice to switch off his life support machine.   They enlisted the help of a general practitioner & a neurologist who found faint signs of brain activity. Two weeks later, Steven woke from his coma. Within seven weeks, he had left hospital.
Unfortunately, Thorpe isn't an exception, he is turning out to be the rule when it comes to wanting to use "brain dead" to declare people dead. The links below contain many more examples.
But why the rush to declare these people dead? Sadly, it is very utilitarian & the "culture of death" trying to hide behind the claim of compassion.
The term “brain death” was invented in 1968. It came about to accommodate the need to acquire vital organs in their “freshest” state from a donor who some argue is still very much alive.
Death had previously been defined as lack of respiration & heart activity, & “brain death” was judged as compatible with an otherwise living patient. “Brain death” has never been rigorously defined, nor are there are no standardized tests to determine if the condition exists.
Dr. John Shea, points out that patients diagnosed as “brain dead” often continue to exhibit brain functions. In his book, “Organ Donation: The Inconvenient Truth”, he points out that the criteria for “brain death” only “test for the absence of some specific brain reflexes. Functions of the brain that are not considered are temperature control, blood pressure, cardiac rate & salt & water balance. When a patient is declared brain dead, these functions are not only still present, but also frequently active.” In short the person is probably still alive.
But by using "brain death" as the standard, it enabled harvesting organs from otherwise living people to use in transplants.As pro-life bioethicist Wesley J. Smith explains:
"But why redefine death? The point of this reckless advocacy — although they don’t put it this bluntly — is that there are thousands of perfectly good organs being used by people who really don’t need them anymore, by which they mean patients with profound cognitive impairments who will remain unconscious or minimally aware for the rest of their lives. Why not harvest such patients, this thinking goes, for the benefit of people who could return to normal lives?
The problem is that would break the “dead donor rule,” the legal and moral pact organ transplant medicine made with society promising that vital organs would only be harvested from patients who are truly dead. Hence, if the definition of death were loosened to include, say, a diagnosis of persistent vegetative state, more organs could be obtained — and the dead donor rule could still appear to be honored, deemed essential for transplant medicine to retain the trust of society.
Of course, that would be fiction, and the redefinition actually a betrayal. What these “ethicists” really propose is killing for organs, a view now being promoted in some of the world’s most prestigious medical, science, and bioethical journals. For example, Nature recently editorialized in favor of liberalizing the rules governing brain death.
Currently, brain death requires the irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brain and each of its constituent parts. Nature’s editorial claimed — without proof — that doctors obey “the spirit but not the letter, of this law. And many are feeling uncomfortable about it.”
Like I said, we are seeing another good example of how the "culture of death" is presenting its agenda in a way to make it appear like they are an angel of light, not the angel of death.
Organ donation is a good thing. But taking them before a person is truly dead is tantamount to murder. It is on the same level as using embryos to harvest stem cells. It is saying some lives are more valuable than others rather than seeing each life as it truly is, a gift from God.


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