LifeSiteNews.com

Doctor Says about “Brain Dead” Man Saved from Organ Harvesting - “Brain Death is Never Really Death”

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LifeSiteNews.com

By John Jalsevac

OKLAHOMA, March 27, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - 21-year-old Zack Dunlap, a man who was diagnosed as "brain dead" and who was mere minutes away from having his organs harvested, now says, four months after the accident that brought him to the brink of death, that he feels "pretty good." Dunlap’s story was told in an NBC piece aired earlier this week, in which the young man himself was interviewed.

While Zack’s case is being touted in the media as a "miracle", a neonatologist and expert on brain-death has told LifeSiteNews.com that Zack’s case, while remarkable in a sense, is not as rare as the mainstream media’s reporting makes it seem.

"The young man was never dead," said Dr. Paul Byrne, a former president of the Catholic Medical Association who began writing about brain death in 1977. What makes Dunlap’s case unusual, though not unheard of, says Byrne, is that Zack was lucky enough to be found out to be alive before his vital organs were removed.

"While the story is put out as something that’s miraculous," he told LifeSiteNews.com, "I don’t want to take anything away from God, but it’s not supernatural what occurred. If there is anything miraculous about it, it is that they didn’t get his organs before someone was able to notice some sort of other response. He was always living - his heart was always beating, there was always blood pressure, he was always very much alive."

Dr. Byrne says that over the years he has collected information pertaining to numerous cases where patients labeled brain dead have "returned from the dead." The reason being, says Byrne, is that "brain death is never really death." 

Zack Dunlap suffered numerous broken bones and severe head trauma last November after he was involved in an accident, in which he lost control of the four-wheeler he was driving and flipped over. At the hospital doctors diagnosed the young warehouse worker as "brain dead". Oklahoma officials were informed that Zack was legally dead and that his organs were about to be harvested.

"We wanted to make sure that some lucky person got to live on through Zack’s heart," Zack’s mother Pam told NBC.

Plans to remove her son’s organs, however, were put on hold in a dramatic fashion.

Two of Zack’s cousins, both nurses, said that, in the final moments before the medical team that was to harvest Zack’s organs arrived, they felt that their cousin wasn’t truly gone. On a hunch Dan Coffin ran his pocket knife across Zack’s foot. The supposedly brain dead patient reacted immediately by jerking back his foot. Coffin then dug his fingernail beneath Zack’s fingernail, a particularly tender spot on the body, and his cousin once again reacted by drawing his arm across his body.

"We went from the lowest possible moment to, ‘Oh, my gosh, our son is still alive!’" related Pam Dunlap.

Zack’s grandmother said that she too felt, like Zack’s cousins, that her grandson wasn’t ready to go. Shortly before her grandson began to show signs of life again, she had gone into his room and prayed for a miracle. "He was too young for God to take him," she said tearfully in the NBC interview. "It wasn’t time."

"I had heard of miracles all my life. But I had never seen a miracle. But I have seen a miracle. I’ve got proof of it," she said.

"We both feel that God has some big plan for Zack. We’ll do everything in our power to help him pursue it - whatever it is," said Dunlap’s mother.

  The young man himself told NBC that he heard the doctors pronounce him brain dead, and said, "I’m glad I couldn’t get up and do what I wanted to do." When asked what he wanted to do, he responded, "There probably would have been a broken window they went out."

"It just makes me thankful, it makes me thankful that they didn’t give up," he said about his relatives’ last attempts to find out if he was still alive. "Only the good die young, so I didn’t go."

Zack’s father, Doug Dunlap, says that he doesn’t blame anyone, indicating that the doctors assured him that his son was dead, and that there was no blood-flow to his brain. "They said he was brain-dead, that there would be no life, so we were preparing ourselves."

48 days after Zack’s accident, the young man returned home, walking on his own two feet. He still suffers some emotional problems, memory loss and other consequences from the accident, and a full recovery may take up to a year. But his parents say that are simply thankful that their son is alive.

Dr. Byrne, on the other hand, told LifeSiteNews.com that Zack’s story should be taken as a warning about the insufficiency of the brain death criteria. "While this story tells the young man hearing them talking about his declaration of brain death, the question is, is how many of the other organ donors are in a similar situation, that the only thing is that they end up getting their organs?" he said.

"Brain death was concocted, it was made up in order to get organs. It was never based on science."

In 2007 Dr. John Shea, LifeSiteNews.com’s medical advisor, wrote in agreement with Byrne’s concerns about brain death, saying that the criteria of "brain death" is scientific theory, and not fact, adding that it is a theory that is particularly open to utilitarian abuse and therefore should be treated with extra caution. He also pointed out that there is the added trouble that there are a number of various sets of brain-death criteria, such that a person may be considered dead according to one, and not by another.

See previous LifeSiteNews.com stories on this issue:

Denver Coroner Rules "Homicide" in Organ-Donor Case
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2004/oct/04101208.html

Russian Surgeons Removing Organs Saying Patients Almost Dead Anyway
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2003/sep/03090906.html


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Quebec groups launch court challenge to euthanasia bill

LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

As announced when the Quebec legislature adopted Bill 52, An Act respecting end-of-life care, the citizen movement Living with Dignity and the Physicians’ Alliance against Euthanasia, representing together over 650 physicians and 17,000 citizens, filed a lawsuit before the Superior Court of Quebec in the District of Montreal on Thursday.

The lawsuit requests that the Court declare invalid all the provisions of the Act that deal with “medical aid in dying”, a term the groups say is a euphemism for euthanasia. This Act not only allows certain patients to demand that a physician provoke their death, but also grants physicians the right to cause the death of these patients by the administration of a lethal substance.

The two organizations are challenging the constitutionality of those provisions in the Act which are aimed at decriminalizing euthanasia under the euphemism “medical aid in dying”. Euthanasia constitutes a culpable homicide under Canada’s Criminal Code, and the organizations maintain that it is at the core of the exclusive federal legislative power in relation to criminal law and Quebec therefore does not have the power to adopt these provisions.

The organizations also say the impugned provisions unjustifiably infringe the rights to life and to security of patients guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. They further infringe the right to the safeguard of the dignity of the person, which is also protected by the Quebec Charter.

In view of the gravity of the situation and the urgent need to protect all vulnerable persons in Quebec, they are requesting an accelerated management of the case in order to obtain a judgment before the Act is expected to come into force on December 10, 2015.


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Colorado baker appeals gvmt ‘re-education’ order

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By LifeSiteNews staff

A Colorado cake artist who declined to use his creative talents to promote and endorse a same-sex ceremony appealed a May 30 order from the Colorado Civil Rights Commission to the Colorado Court of Appeals Wednesday.

The commission’s order requires cake artist Jack Phillips and his staff at Masterpiece Cakeshop to create cakes for same-sex celebrations, forces him to re-educate his staff that Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act means that artists must endorse all views, compels him to implement new policies to comply with the commission’s order, and requires him to file quarterly “compliance” reports for two years. The reports must include the number of patrons declined a wedding cake or any other product and state the reason for doing so to ensure he has fully eliminated his religious beliefs from his business.

“Americans should not be forced by the government – or by another citizen – to endorse or promote ideas with which they disagree,” said the cake artist’s lead counsel Nicolle Martin, an attorney allied with Alliance Defending Freedom. “This is not about the people who asked for a cake; it’s about the message the cake communicates. Just as Jack doesn’t create baked works of art for other events with which he disagrees, he doesn’t create cake art for same-sex ceremonies regardless of who walks in the door to place the order.”

“In America, we don’t force artists to create expression that is contrary to their convictions,” added Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “A paint artist who identifies as homosexual shouldn’t be intimidated into creating a painting that celebrates one-man, one-woman marriage. A pro-life photographer shouldn’t be forced to work a pro-abortion rally. And Christian cake artists shouldn’t be punished for declining to participate in a same-sex ceremony or promote its message.”

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In July 2012, Charlie Craig and David Mullins asked Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, to make a wedding cake to celebrate their same-sex ceremony. In an exchange lasting about 30 seconds, Phillips politely declined, explaining that he would gladly make them any other type of baked item they wanted but that he could not make a cake promoting a same-sex ceremony because of his faith. Craig and Mullins, now represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, immediately left the shop and later filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division. The case now goes to the Colorado Court of Appeals as Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Craig.

“Jack, and other cake artists like him – such as those seen on TV shows like ‘Ace of Cakes’ and ‘Cake Boss’ – prepare unique creations that are inherently expressive,” Tedesco explained. “Jack invests many hours in the wedding cake creative process, which includes meeting the clients, designing and sketching the cake, and then baking, sculpting, and decorating it. The ACLU calls Jack a mere ‘retail service provider,’ but, in fact, he is an artist who uses his talents and abilities to create expression that the First Amendment fully protects."

Celebrity cake artists have written publicly about their art and the significant expressive work that goes into the artistic design process for wedding cakes.


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Prisoner of conscience Mary Wagner appeals her conviction

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By Tony Gosgnach

TORONTO -- As promised, Mary Wagner has, through her counsel Dr. Charles Lugosi, filed a formal notice of appeal on numerous points regarding her recent, almost two-year-long court case that ended on June 12.

Justice Fergus O’Donnell of the Ontario Court of Justice rejected every application made by the defence – including for access to abortion center records, public funding, standing for a constitutional challenge and for expert witnesses to be heard – before he found Wagner guilty and sentenced her to five months in jail on a charge of mischief and four months on four counts of failing to comply with probation orders.

He further levied two years of probation, with terms that she stay at least 100 metres away from any abortion site. However, because Wagner had spent a greater time in jail than the sentence, she was freed immediately. She had been arrested at the “Women’s Care Clinic” abortion site on Lawrence Avenue West in Toronto on August 15, 2012 after attempting to speak to abortion-bound women there. She then spent the duration of the trial in prison for refusing to sign bail conditions requiring her to stay away from abortion sites.

Wagner is using the matter as a test case to challenge the current definition of a human being in Canadian law – that is, that a human being is legally recognized as such only after he or she has fully emerged from the birth canal in a breathing state.

Wagner’s notice states the appeal is regarding:

  • Her conviction and sentence on a single count of mischief (interference with property),
  • Her conviction and sentence on four counts of breach of probation,
  • The order denying public funding,
  • The order denying the disclosure of third-party records,
  • The order denying the admission of evidence from experts on the applicant’s constitutional challenge concerning the constitutional validity of Section 223 of the Criminal Code,
  • The order denying the admission of evidence from experts concerning the construction of Section 37 of the Criminal Code,
  • The probation order denying Wagner her constitutional rights to freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and freedom of religion on all public sidewalks and public areas within 100 metres of places where abortions are committed,
  • And each conviction and sentence and all orders and rulings made by O’Donnell.

In the notice of appeal, Lugosi cites numerous points on which O’Donnell erred:

  • He denied Wagner her constitutional right to make full answer and defence.
  • He denied Wagner her right to rely on Section 37 of the Criminal Code, which permits “everyone” to come to the third-party defence and rescue of any human being (in this case, the preborn) facing imminent assault.
  • He decided the factual basis of Wagner’s constitutional arguments was a waste of the court’s time and that no purpose would have been served by having an evidentiary hearing on her Charter application because, in the current state of Canadian law, it had no possibility of success.
  • He misapplied case law and prejudged the case, “giving rise to a reasonable apprehension of bias and impeding the legal evolution of the law to adapt to new circumstances, knowledge and changed societal values and morals.”
  • He accepted the Crown’s submission that it is beyond the jurisdiction of the courts to question the jurisdiction of Parliament legally to define “human being” in any manner Parliament sees fit.
  • He ruled Section 223 of the Criminal Code is not beyond the powers of Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
  • He ruled Section 223 of the Criminal Code does not violate the Preamble to, as well as Sections 7, 11(d), 15 and 26, of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
  • He denied Wagner standing to raise a constitutional challenge to the validity of Section 223 of the Criminal Code.
  • He ruled that Section 223 of the Criminal Code applied generally throughout the entire Criminal Code and used it to deny unborn human beings the benefit of equal protection as born human beings under Section 37 of the Criminal Code.
  • He denied the production and disclosure of third-party records in the possession of the “Women’s Care Clinic” abortion site, although the records were required to prove Wagner was justified in using reasonable force in the form of oral and written words to try to persuade pregnant mothers from killing their unborn children by abortion.
  • He denied Wagner the defence of Section 37 of the Criminal Code by ruling unborn children did not come within the scope of human beings eligible to be protected by a third party.
  • He ruled Wagner did not come within the scope of Section 37 because she was found to be non-violent (in that she did not use physical force).
  • He ruled the unborn children Wagner was trying to rescue were not under her protection.
  • He denied Wagner the common-law defences of necessity and the rescue of third parties in need of protection.
  • He denied Wagner public funding to make full answer and defence for a constitutional test case of great public importance and national significance.
  • He imposed an unconstitutional sentence upon Wagner by, in effect, imposing an injunction as a condition of probation, contrary to her constitutional rights of free speech, freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and freedom of religion.

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Among the orders Lugosi is seeking are:

  • That an appeal be allowed against conviction on all counts and that a verdict of acquittal be entered on all counts,
  • That Section 223 of the Criminal Code be found unconstitutional  and contrary to Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982, as well as the unwritten constitution of Canada,
  • That the sentence be declared unconstitutional and contrary to Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982, and the unwritten constitution of Canada or that a new trial be conducted, with Wagner permitted to make full answer and defence, be given standing to make a constitutional attack on Section 223 of the Criminal Code, with the admission of expert witnesses,
  • That the Women’s Care Clinic abortion site be made to produce third-party records pertaining to patients seen on August 15, 2012 (when Wagner entered the site),
  • And that there be public funding for two defence counsels at any retrial and for any appeal related to the case.

No date has yet been established for a decision on the appeal or hearings.

A defence fund for Wagner’s case is still raising money. Details on how to contribute to it can be found here.


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