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More Hospitals/Governments Push For Organ Transplants 5 Minutes or Less After Heart Stops

LifeSiteNews.com
LifeSiteNews.com

By Peter J. Smith

August 8, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A growing push has arisen from the medical community to increase the number of available human transplant organs by removing organs from non-brain-dead organ donors who experience “cardiac death,” or 5 minutes of cardiac arrest. A recent article in the New Scientist, entitled “Not brain-dead, but ripe for transplant,” once again brings the contentious procedure, which was reported on by LifeSiteNews.com in June of this year, back into the limelight.

The procedure, known as “donation after cardiac death” (DCD) or non-heart beating organ donation (NHBD) gained notoriety earlier this year in Canada after an Ottawa hospital announced in June its first DCD transplant.

However, more doctors and hospitals are beginning to harvest organs after a patient experiences “cardiac death.” Currently the Australian Health Ethics Committee (AHEC) is considering recommending that the government encourage DCD, and government support in the United Kingdom has swelled numbers of DCDs by six-fold in the last 15 years to 120 in 2005, according to the story carried by the New Scientist.

Yet the procedure is fraught with pitfalls, with many expressing fear that more doctors may be willing to sacrifice patients in order to harvest their organs to supply the worldwide demand. The New Scientist article relates the story of a 20-year-old “Janet,” who, following a car accident, suffered such extensive injuries that she would have been deemed eligible to have her organs harvested according to DCD’s standards. Janet, however, subsequently recovered and is “wheelchair-bound but happy to be alive.”

In many countries, transplant surgeries only take place after doctors determine that a donor-patient is “brain-dead” - a vague term that has no universal definition -Â and therefore has no chance of recovery. Heart and lung function are maintained by way of life support in order to preserve the donor’s organs until surgeons find a suitable moment to harvest them.

The typical DCD donor patient, however, would have his life-support or ventilators removed in order to bring about cardiac death. The doctors would remove ventilation from a patient who typically has measurable brainwaves but is deemed unlikely to recover, and then wait for the heart to stop beating. If the heart stops for five minutes, death is pronounced and the organs are harvested by another surgical team.

“These situations put the physician in the difficult decision-making position between the care of their patient and balancing that care against the possibility of passing on the patient’s organs to someone else,” said Mary Ellen Douglas, Campaign Life Coalition’s National Organizer. “The code of the physician is to do no harm and a heart-wrenching decision between two patients places the physician in the role of playing God.”

Christopher Doig, a critical care specialist at Canada’s Foothills Hospital in Calgary, Alberta, according to the New Scientist, described the use of CD to increase the number of organ donations as “inherently bothersome.”

The DCD procedure also was condemned by the Archdiocese of St. Louis in 2003 saying it is “cruel and dangerous and does not meet standards of respect for human life.”

According to the New Scientist, a presentation at the World Transplant Congress in Boston, Massachusetts, claimed that the widespread practice of DCD could increase the number of available transplant organs by 20 per cent and treat many of the estimated 6000 people in the US who die each year while waiting for a matching organ donation.

However, pro-life advocatesÂand a number of doctors are strongly against changing the determination of death to put more harvested organs in the medical market, especially since there have been a number of cases where patients have recovered after the proposed 5 minutes for determining “cardiac death”. The New Scientist also reveals that three US transplant centers use a 2-minute interval, since they claim at this time there is complete loss of brain function, and the heart could only rarely start beating again.

Dr. Moira McQueen, President of the Canadian Catholic Bioethics Centre told LifeSiteNews.com that waiting only five minutes after cessation of cardiovascular circulation was “frankly . . . not nearly enough” and noted cases of auto-resuscitation after more than five minutes without a heart beat, a condition doctors describe as the “Lazarus phenomenon.”

“The laudable purpose of saving lives does not justify the donation of an organ whose removal could cause the death of a donor,” said Jim Hughes, CLC’s National President to LifeSiteNew.com. “Harvesting organs just five minutes after the heart stops is just plain frightening. There are cases of people whose hearts have re-started after a longer period of time.”

See related LifeSite coverage:

Controversial Organ Donation Method Begins in Canada - Organs Extracted 5 Minutes after Heart Stops
http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2006/jun/06062707.htmlÂ


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UK quietly opens the door to genetic engineering, ‘3-parent’ embryos

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By Hilary White

Last month the UK’s Department of Health quietly redefined the term “genetic modification” to open the door to allow certain kinds of modification of human embryos – thus potentially making it the first country in the world to allow genetic engineering.

Scottish journalist Lori Anderson recently raised the alarm over the change in a column in the Scotsman, in which she alleged that the change is designed to “dupe” the British public into accepting “full-scale germline genetic engineering,” using human embryos as test subjects.

Anderson said that in July, the Department of Health “effectively re-wrote the definition of ‘genetic modification’ to specifically exclude the alteration of human mitochondrial genes or any other genetic material that exists outside the chromosomes in the nucleus of the cell.”

“The reason for doing this is that it believes it will be easier to sell such an advancement to the public if it can insist that the end result will not be a ‘GM baby’.”

This change follows a statement from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), the government body that regulates experimental research on human embryos, approving the procedure to create an embryo from one couple’s gametes but with genetic material added from a third party donor, a procedure called in the press “three-parent embryos”.

Anderson quoted a statement from the Department of Health comparing this procedure to donating blood. The statement read, “There is no universally agreed definition of ‘genetic modification’ in humans – people who have organ transplants, blood donations, or even gene therapy are not generally regarded as being ‘genetically modified’. The Government has decided to adopt a working definition for the purpose of taking forward these regulations.”

This assertion was challenged by one of the UK’s leading fertility researchers, Lord Robert Winston, who told the Independent, “Of course mitochondrial transfer is genetic modification and this modification is handed down the generations. It is totally wrong to compare it with a blood transfusion.”

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The HFEA, which throughout its history has been known as one of the world’s most permissive regulatory bodies, has been working steadily towards allowing genetically modified embryos to be implanted in women undergoing artificial procreation treatments. In a document issued to the government last year, they called the insertion of mitochondrial DNA (mDNA) into embryos “mitochondrial donation” or “mitochondrial replacement”. mDNA is the genetic material found in the cytoplasm outside a cell’s nucleus, problems with which can cause a host of currently incurable genetic illnesses.

In the statement issued in June, the HFEA said the technique of inserting “donated” mDNA into already existing in vitro embryos, “should be considered ‘not unsafe’ for the use on a ‘specific and defined group of patients.’”

“Mitochondria replacement (or mitochondrial donation) describes two medical techniques, currently being worked on by UK researchers, which could allow women to avoid passing on genetically inherited mitochondrial diseases to their children,” the statement said.

The HFEA admitted that the techniques are “at the cutting edge of both science and ethics” and said that the results of a “public consultation” in 2012/13 were being examined by the government, which is considering “draft regulations”.

In June, the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children echoed Lori Anderson’s concern, commenting that the HFEA is attempting to deceive the public. Paul Tully, SPUC’s general secretary, said, “Human gene manipulation is being sold to a gullible public on a promise of reducing suffering, the same old con-trick that the test-tube baby lobby has been using for decades.” 

Any manipulation of human genetics, always breaks “several important moral rules,” entailing the creation of “human guinea-pigs,” Tully said. “Human germ-line manipulation and cloning – changing the genetic inheritance of future generations - goes against internationally-agreed norms for ethical science.”

He quoted Professor Andy Greenfield, the chairman of the scientific review panel that approved the techniques, who said that there is no way of knowing what effect this would have on the children created until it is actually done.

“We have to subject children who have not consented and cannot consent to being test subjects,” Tully said.

Altering the mDNA of an embryo is what cloning scientists refer to as “germline” alteration, meaning that the changes will be carried on through the altered embryo’s own offspring, a longstanding goal of eugenicists.

In their 1999 book, “Human Molecular Genetics” Tom Strachan and Andrew Read warned that the use of mitochondrial alteration of embryos would cross serious ethical boundaries.

Having argued that germline therapy would be “pointless” from a therapeutic standpoint, the authors said, “There are serious concerns, therefore, that a hidden motive for germline gene therapy is to enable research to be done on germline manipulation with the ultimate aim of germline-based genetic enhancement.”

“The latter could result in positive eugenics programs, whereby planned genetic modification of the germline could involve artificial selection for genes that are thought to confer advantageous traits.”


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Cable series portrays nun as back-alley abortionist

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By Ben Johnson
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'To depict a nun who performs an abortion is a new low,' said Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.

The Cinemax TV series The Knick portrayed a Roman Catholic nun as a back alley abortionist who tells a Catholic woman God will forgive her for going through with the procedure.

In its latest episode, which aired Friday night, the series showed Sister Harriet (an Irish nun played by Cara Seymour) telling a Catholic woman named Nora, “Your husband will know nothing of it. I promise.”

“Will God forgive me?” Nora asked, adding, “I don't want to go to Hell for killing a baby.”

“He knows that you suffered,” the sister replied, before performing the illegal abortion off-screen. “I believe the Lord's compassion will be yours.” 

The period medical drama is set at the Knickerbocker Hospital (“The Knick”) in New York City around the turn of the 20th century, when abortion was against both civil and ecclesiastical law.

“It is no secret that Hollywood is a big pro-abortion town, but to depict a nun who performs an abortion is a new low,” Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, said. “The only saving grace in this episode is the real-life recognition of the woman who is about to have the abortion: she admits that her baby is going to be killed.”

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The series is directed by Steven Soderbergh, known for such films as Erin Brockovich, the Oceans Eleven franchise, and Sex, Lies, and Videotape. More recently he directed The Girlfriend Experience, a film about prostitution starring pornographic actress Sasha Grey.

Critics have hailed his decision to include a black surgeon in circa 1900 America. But after last week's episode, the New York Times stated that The Knick has chosen to “demonstrate concern for other kinds of progress,” citing the depiction of the abortion. 


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Catholic Malta enacts ‘transgender’ employment discrimination law

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By Hilary White

An amendment to Malta’s Employment and Industrial Relations Act means that employment “discrimination” against “transsexuals” is now officially prohibited in the Catholic country. The provision, which was quietly passed in May, came into effect on August 12th.

The law allows those who believe they have a complaint to make a case with the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality, with an industrial tribunal or the courts. A government spokesman told local  media, “Employees do not need to prove that their employer has discriminated against them.”

“They only need to provide enough evidence pointing to a likely case of discrimination. The employer will then need to prove that discrimination has not taken place.”

The amendment defines illegal discrimination against “transgendered” people as, “in so far as the ground of sex is concerned, any less favourable treatment of a person who underwent or is undergoing gender reassignment, which, for the purpose of those regulations shall mean, where a person is considering or intends to undergo, or is undergoing, a process, or part of a process, for the purposes of reassigning the person’s sex by changing physiological or other attributes of sex.” 

Silvan Agius, Human Rights policy coordinator with the Ministry for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties, told Malta Today newspaper that the new amendment brings Maltese law into harmony with EU law.

“This amendment is continuing the government’s equality mainstreaming exercise. The inclusion of gender reassignment in the Act also brings it in line with the anti-discrimination articles found in both Malta’s Constitution and the Equality for Men and Woman Act,” Agius said.

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Agius is a key member of the homosexual activist apparatus in Malta’s government working to entrench the ideology of gender in law in Malta and elsewhere. In June, he was a featured speaker, with the notorious British anti-Catholic campaigner Peter Tatchell, at a Glasgow conference organised by the Edinburgh-based Equality Network, a group that helps organise and train homosexualist campaign groups.

The amendment to the law follows promises made recently by the country’s equalities minister, Helena Dalli, to a “transgender” congress in Hungary in May. Dalli, who brought forward Malta’s recently passed same-sex civil unions bill, told a meeting of gender activists in Budapest that while her government’s focus had been mainly on homosexuals, that she would shortly be turning her attention to “trans” people.

“The next step now is a Bill towards the enactment of a Gender Identity law. A draft bill has been prepared and it has now been passed to the LGBTI Consultative Council for its vetting and amendment as necessary,” Dalli said.

“Some of you may be thinking that we are moving forward quickly. I have a different perspective though. We are doing what is right, what should have been done a long time ago,” she added.

Since the legalisation of divorce in 2011, Malta has been remarkable for its rapid adoption of the gender ideology’s agenda. In 2013, Malta was named the “fastest climber” on the Rainbow Europe Index, a survey organised annually by ILGA Europe, the leading homosexualist lobby group funded directly by the European Union.

The ILGA Europe report notes (p. 114) that Helena Dalli Helena “was one of 11 EU Member States’ equality ministers to co-sign a call for the European Commission to work on a comprehensive EU policy for LGBT equality.” The report also noted that although the new Labour government has proved cooperative, the Christian Democrat Nationalist Party has “progressively proved more receptive to LGBTI issues, including same-sex unions.”


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