LifeSiteNews.com

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

LifeSiteNews.com
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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Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
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Vatican pressing forward with reform of US feminist nuns: Cardinal Müller

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By Thaddeus Baklinski

Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, says the Vatican is pressing forward with plans to reform the U.S.-based Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR).

In an interview published in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, the cardinal said that the reform of the LCWR, which was undertaken after an assessment of the group found serious doctrinal problems, will be carried out with the goal of helping them "rediscover their identity.”

“Congregations have no more vocations and risk dying out," Müller said. "We have first of all tried to reduce hostility and tensions, partly thanks to Bishop Sartain whom we sent to negotiate with them; he is a very gentle man. We wish to stress that we are not misogynists, we are not women gobblers! Of course we have a different concept of religious life but we hope to help them rediscover their identity.”

Moreover, the cardinal said that problems specific to the LCWR are not a reflection of all the women religious in the US.

"We need to bear in mind that they do not represent all US nuns, but just a group of nuns who form part of an association,” Müller said.

“We have received many distressed letters from other nuns belonging to the same congregations, who are suffering a great deal because of the direction in which the LCWR is steering their mission.”

Cardinal Müller's remarks confirmed the assertion he and the Holy See’s delegate to the LCWR, Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle, made in an address to LCWR officials in Rome on April 30, that the theological drift the feminist nuns are taking constitutes a radical departure from the foundational theological concepts of Catholicism.

The Holy See “believes that the charismatic vitality of religious life can only flourish within the ecclesial faith of the Church,” Müller said in the address.

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“The LCWR, as a canonical entity dependent on the Holy See, has a profound obligation to the promotion of that faith as the essential foundation of religious life. Canonical status and ecclesial vision go hand-in-hand, and at this phase of the implementation of the Doctrinal Assessment, we are looking for a clearer expression of that ecclesial vision and more substantive signs of collaboration,” he stated.

The LCWR has openly defied the mandate of reform intended to bring their organization into line with basic Catholic doctrine on the nature of God, the Church, and sexual morality.

Among the CDF’s directives, to which LCWR has strenuously objected, is the requirement that “speakers and presenters at major programs” be approved by Archbishop Sartain. This, Müller has explained, was decided in order to “avoid difficult and embarrassing situations wherein speakers use an LCWR forum to advance positions at odds with the teaching of the Church.”

The LCWR has invited speakers to their Annual Assembly such as New Age guru Barbara Marx Hubbard, and Sr. Laurie Brink, who is particularly noted for flagrantly denying the Divinity of Christ and telling the sisters that to maintain their “prophetic” place in society they need to “go beyond” the Church and even “go beyond Jesus.”

In one of the first public statements of his pontificate, Pope Francis affirmed that the investigation and reform of the LCWR must continue.

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Brian Fisher

Birth mothers: real heroes of the pro-life movement

Brian Fisher
By Brian Fisher
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What does it mean to be brave? Is it the doctor who dedicates himself to improving the health of a third-world nation? Is it the woman who faces her third round of chemotherapy to fight the progression of cancer? Is it the teacher who forgoes the comforts of a suburban school to reach minorities in the inner city? All of these are examples of bravery demonstrated in exceedingly challenging circumstances. And our society longs for stories of bravery to inspire us and fill us with hope.

As someone who works day in and day out with those on the front lines of helping rescue babies from abortion, I’m no stranger to stories of bravery. I see courage every day in the eyes of the men and women who sacrifice their time and energy to help women facing unplanned pregnancies. I see it every time a young mom — despite being pressured by her parents or significant other to get an abortion — chooses LIFE. And perhaps more profoundly than in any other situation, I see it when an expectant mom with no relational support, job, or income chooses to place her baby for adoption rather than abort her son or daughter.

This was Nicky’s situation.

When Nicky found herself pregnant with her boyfriend’s child, her life was already in shambles. During her 26 years, Nicky had already given birth to and surrendered sole custody of a little girl, committed several felonies, lived in her car, lost several jobs, and barely subsisted on minimum wage. So when she met up with an old boyfriend, Brandon, Nicky believed she was being given a second chance at happiness. “Our first year together was beautiful. We were getting to know each other and deciding if we would stay together forever.” Unfortunately, a positive pregnancy test result changed everything.

“When I told him I was pregnant, Brandon sat down on the bed, looked me in the eyes, and told me to ‘get an abortion’.” Nicky says those three little words changed everything for her. “I became depressed living with someone who wanted his child ‘dealt with.’”  Like thousands of women every day, Nicky began searching online for information on abortion, hoping her boyfriend would eventually change his mind. Through our strategic marketing methods, Online for Life was able to guide Nicky to a life-affirming pregnancy center where she received grace-filled counsel. “The woman I sat with was beyond wonderful. She helped me to just breathe and ask God what to do….And so I did.”

Nicky left the pregnancy center that day with a new resolve to choose life for her child, even though she still wasn’t sure how she’d financially support a child. “I was alone with just $10 in my pocket…and without any type of plan for what I was going to do.” So Nicky relied on the support of the staff she met at the life-affirming pregnancy center. With their help and through a chain of fortunate events, Nicky was put in contact with the couple who would eventually become her daughter’s adoptive parents.

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After meeting this couple face to face and coming to terms with her own desperate situation, Nicky conceded that the best thing for her unborn child would be to place her in someone else’s loving home. She told Brandon about her plans and he agreed that adoption would give their child the best chance at a happy and secure future. He even returned home to help Nicky prepare for the birth of their child. “The weeks leading up to my delivery were filled with a mixture of laughter, tears, protectiveness and sadness,” Nicky recalls. But one sentiment continued to be shared with her. “Brave…so brave.” That’s what everyone from the life-affirming pregnancy center to the adoption agency to the birthing center kept calling Nicky. “The nurses kept coming up to me and telling me they were honored to care for and treat someone like me.” After several weeks of preparation, Nicky finally gave birth to a healthy baby girl, and she made the dreams of a couple from the other side of the country come true.

Nicky’s adoption story continues to be riddled with a strange combination of pain and joy. “I cry every day, but I know my baby, who came out of a very bad time, ended up being loved by people from across the country.” When asked what message she’d like to share with the world about her decision to give up her child for adoption, Nicky responds, The voice of the mother who gives up a baby for adoption isn’t heard. We need to change that.”

To learn more about Online for Life and how we’re helping to make stories like Nicky and her daughter’s story a possibility, please visit OnlineforLife.org.

Author, speaker, and business leader Brian Fisher is the President and Co-Founder of Online for Life, a transparent, metric-oriented, compassion-driven nonprofit organization dedicated to helping rescue babies and their families from abortion through technology and grace.

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New York farmers stop hosting weddings after $13,000 fine for declining lesbian ceremony

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By Dustin Siggins

New York farmers Robert and Cynthia Gifford, who were ordered last week to pay $13,000 for not hosting a same-sex "wedding," say they are closing that part of their operation.

"Going forward, the Giffords have decided to no longer host any wedding ceremonies on their farm, other than the ones already under contract," said Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) lawyer James Trainor. ADF represented the Giffords in their legal fight against New York's non-discrimination law.

Last week, the Giffords were ordered to pay a $10,000 fine to the state of New York and $3,000 in damages to a lesbian couple, Jennifer McCarthy and Melisa Erwin, who approached them in 2012 about hosting their "wedding." The Giffords, who are Roman Catholic, said their religious convictions would not let them host the ceremony, but that McCarthy and Erwin could hold their reception on their property.

Unbeknownst to the Giffords, the lesbian couple recorded the two-to-three minute conversation. After declining to hold the reception on the Giffords' farm, on which they live and rent property, the lesbian couple decided to make a formal complaint to the state's Division of Human Rights.

Eventually, Judge Migdalia Pares ruled that the Giffords' farm, Liberty Ridge Farm, constitutes a public accommodation because space is rented on the grounds and fees are collected from the public. The Giffords argued that because they live on the property with their children, they should be exempt from the state law, but Pares said that this does not mean their business is private.

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Trainor told TheBlaze that the Giffords' decision to end wedding ceremonies at Liberty Ridge “will hurt their business in the short run," but that was preferable to violating their religious beliefs.

“The Giffords serve all people with respect and care. They have hired homosexual employees and have hosted events for same-sex couples,” he said.

However, "since the state of New York has essentially compelled them to do all ceremonies or none at all, they have chosen the latter in order to stay true to their religious convictions," Trainor explained to LifeSiteNews. "No American should be forced by the government to choose between their livelihood and their faith, but that’s exactly the choice the state of New York has forced upon the Giffords."

"They will continue to host wedding receptions," said Trainor.

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