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“Brain Death” as Criteria for Organ Donation is a “Deception”: Bereaved Mother

LifeSiteNews.com
LifeSiteNews.com

By Hilary White, Rome correspondent

ROME, February 23, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Bernice Jones came to Rome last week to tell the world that doctors killed her son by removing his organs. "Brain death is not death" and "organ donation is very deceptive," the bereaved mother told LifeSiteNews.com in an interview on Thursday.

Mrs. Jones was attending an international conference on the dangers of so-called "brain death" criteria and related her experience of losing her son, Brandon, who was declared "brain dead" and used as an organ donor.

"Families are led to believe that their loved ones are dead," Jones told LSN, "but in fact they are alive. You must be alive to be a vital organ donor." Families, she said, are being deceived by doctors and hospital administrators, "by everyone who is involved in organ transplantation." The declaration of brain death "is a deception, a violent deception, that your loved one is dead."

Jones described what she characterized as a betrayal of principle by medical professionals at a hospital in their home state of Washington, whose priority she argued is no longer the care of the patient at hand but the procurement of organs for transplants. Although she declined to name the hospital, she said, "It happens at all hospitals."

Nine years ago, Mrs. Jones’s son suffered an accidental gunshot wound to the head and was declared "brain dead" upon arrival at the hospital. He was immediately prepared for the removal of his organs.

Mrs. Jones said, "While my family and I thought that our son was being treated for his well-being, to preserve and protect his life, he was not, he was being treated to be an organ donor."

"His vital organs were being procured not for his benefit but to benefit someone else."

24 hours after the family was told Brandon was dead, Mrs. Jones had an intuition that her son was still alive. Later investigation revealed that the hospital had told the family her son was "brain dead" but, without the family’s knowledge, had kept him alive on a respirator for 20 hours while flooding his body with fluids and drugs in preparation for what his mother described as a live "dissection" that brought about his death.

Legal consent, she said, was obtained while the family was in deep shock over the accident. Jones’s husband signed the consent forms over her objections and the family, still in shock, was told to go home. During their time at the hospital, the family was introduced to a woman whom doctors referred to as an "organ procurement agent." This woman used what Mrs. Jones described as a standard "script," speaking soothingly to the family about Brandon’s altruism and desire to help others, to induce them to sign the consent forms, copies of which were not given to the family.

Mrs. Jones was later to learn that these procedures are standard for organ retrieval. "All of the organ donor families I have spoken to received the same script," she said. Organ procurement officials approach the family when they are at their most vulnerable, she said. "It’s always when you’re not mentally, emotionally capable" of making an informed decision.

Prior to obtaining his organs, Brandon was given paralysing drugs to keep him from moving. He was anesthetised during the removal process. Mrs. Jones said that the diagnosis of brain death is a sham. "If he is supposed to be dead, why does he need paralysing drugs to keep him from moving? Why does he need anesthesia?"

Brandon Jones was given, without his family’s consent, what is called an "apnea test" by doctors, to determine brain death. Doctors remove the ventilator for two minutes from a patient who requires assistance breathing. The heart rate decreases and after two minutes without oxygen, "brain death" is declared.

The apnea test as a diagnostic tool was specifically denounced at the conference as unethical by Dr. Cicero Coimbra, a neurologist from Sao Paolo, Brazil. The test, he said, which cuts off oxygen to the brain, will bring about severe, irreversible brain damage in patients who, with proper care, would otherwise have had a good chance of survival.

Mrs. Jones believes doctors who are motivated by the desire to obtain organs use the apnea test knowing that it will induce severe brain damage while the body is prepared for organ removal.

Despite the harm it does, the apnea test, she said, is administered without the family’s consent. "We were in with our son, and they told us to leave the room, that they had to perform a test. They did not ask permission to do this."

"If a family was made aware of what an apnea test consists of, no family member would ever consent to this."

She described what happened to her son: "For two minutes they took the ventilator away from him. They wait for the pulse to go down but the heart continues to beat. Then they put the ventilator back on. Now, in this two-minute timeframe, they pronounce the patient dead.

"Before they put them back on the ventilator they pronounce the patient dead. It’s a prerequisite to being able to declare a legal but fictional death." This "death" is what she has described as a "convenience death, invented to schedule and regulate the actual time of real death."

Brandon died, she claimed, while his organs, including his still-beating heart, were removed in surgery. "Our son had been dissected alive and in doing so, killed."

Mrs. Jones is the founder of an organisation of parents and families who have undergone this experience and which is dedicated to bringing to the public eye the danger of the "brain death" criteria. The Life Guardian Foundation is dedicated to educating the public that "life of the human person is a gift."

The group calls it "irreverent" to use terms such as "brain dead," "vegetative state," "terminal condition," and "imminent danger of death." "Such designations have been proposed and are actively used for the sole purpose of demeaning and shortening life, as well as to hasten the death of a human person."

Mrs. Jones said that in her research after her son’s death that "there is no scientific validation for ‘brain death’. Absolutely none, whatsoever."

Read related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:

The Demise of "Brain Death": Commentary by Dr. Paul A. Byrne, M.D.
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/sep/08091803.html

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Newsbusters Staff

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Disney ABC embraces X-rated anti-Christian bigot Dan Savage in new prime time show

Newsbusters Staff
By

March 30, 2015 (NewsBusters.org) -- Media Research Center (MRC) and Family Research Council (FRC) are launching a joint national campaign to educate the public about a Disney ABC sitcom pilot based on the life of bigoted activist Dan Savage. MRC and FRC contacted Ben Sherwood, president of Disney/ABC Television Group, more than two weeks ago urging him to put a stop to this atrocity but received no response. [Read the full letter]

A perusal of Dan Savage’s work reveals a career built on advocating violence — even murder — and spewing hatred against people of faith. Savage has spared no one with whom he disagrees from his vitriolic hate speech. Despite his extremism, vulgarity, and unabashed encouragement of dangerous sexual practices, Disney ABC is moving forward with this show, disgustingly titled “Family of the Year.”

Media Research Center President Brent Bozell reacts:

“Disney ABC’s decision to effectively advance Dan Savage’s calls for violence against conservatives and his extremist attacks against people of faith, particularly evangelicals and Catholics, is appalling and outrageous. If hate speech were a crime, this man would be charged with a felony. Disney ABC giving Dan Savage a platform for his anti-religious bigotry is mind-boggling and their silence is deafening.

“By creating a pilot based on the life of this hatemonger and bringing him on as a producer, Disney ABC is sending a signal that they endorse Dan Savage’s wish that a man be murdered. He has stated, ‘Carl Romanelli should be dragged behind a pickup truck until there’s nothing left but the rope.’ ABC knows this. We told them explicitly.

“If the production of ‘Family of the Year’ is allowed to continue, not just Christians but all people of goodwill can only surmise that the company Walt Disney created is endorsing violence.”

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins reacts:

“Does ABC really want to produce a pilot show based on a vile bully like Dan Savage?  Do Dan Savage’s over-the top-obscenity, intimidation of teenagers and even violent rhetoric reflect the values of Disney?  Partnering with Dan Savage and endorsing his x-rated message will be abandoning the wholesome values that have attracted millions of families to Walt Disney.”

Dan Savage has made numerous comments about conservatives, evangelicals, and Catholics that offend basic standards of decency. They include:

  • Proclaiming that he sometimes thinks about “f****ing the shit out of” Senator Rick Santorum

  • Calling for Christians at a high school conference to “ignore the bull**** in the Bible”

  • Saying that “the only thing that stands between my d*** and Brad Pitt’s mouth is a piece of paper” when expressing his feelings on Pope Benedict’s opposition to gay marriage

  • Promoting marital infidelity

  • Saying “Carl Romanelli should be dragged behind a pickup truck until there’s nothing left but the rope.”

  • Telling Bill Maher that he wished Republicans “were all f***ing dead”

  • Telling Dr. Ben Carson to “suck my d***. Name the time and place and I’ll bring my d*** and a camera crew and you can s*** me off and win the argument.”

Reprinted with permission from Newsbusters

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Jacqueline Harvey

Ending the end-of-life impasse: Texas is poised to ban doctor-imposed death by starvation

Jacqueline Harvey
By Jacqueline Harvey

AUSTIN, Texas, March 30, 2015 (TexasInsider.org)  After five consecutive sessions of bitter battles over end-of-life bills, the Texas Legislature is finally poised to pass the first reform to the Texas Advance Directives Act (TADA) in 12 years. An issue that created uncanny adversaries out of natural allies, and equally odd bedfellows, has finally found common ground in H.B. 3074 by State Rep. Drew Springer.  

H.B. 3074 simply prohibits doctor-imposed euthanasia by starvation and dehydration.

Since H.B. 3074 includes only those provisions and language that all major organizations are on record as having deemed acceptable in previous legislative sessions, there is finally hope of ending the end-of-life impasse in the Texas Capitol.

Many would be surprised to learn that Texas law allows physicians to forcibly remove a feeding tube against the will of the patient and their family. In fact, there is a greater legal penalty for failing to feed or water an animal than for a hospital to deny a human being food and water through a tube.

This is because there is no penalty whatsoever for a healthcare provider who wishes to deny artificially-administered nutrition and hydration (AANH). According to Texas Health and Safety Code, “every living dumb creature” is legally entitled access to suitable food and water.

Denying an animal food and water, like in this January case in San Antonio, is punishable by civil fines up to $10,000 and criminal penalties up to two years in jail per offense. Yet Texas law allows health care providers to forcibly deny food and water from human beings – what they would not be able to legally do to their housecat. And healthcare providers are immune from civil and criminal penalties for denial of food and water to human beings as long as they follow the current statutory process which is sorely lacking in safeguards.

Therefore, while it is surprising that Texas has the only state law that explicitly mentions food and water delivered artificially for the purpose of completely permitting its forced denial (the other six states mention AANH explicitly for the opposite purpose, to limit or prohibit its refusal), it is not at all surprising that the issue of protecting a patient’s right to food and water is perhaps the one point of consensus across all major stakeholders.

H.B. 3074 is the first TADA reform bill to include only this provision that is agreed upon across all major players in previous legislative sessions.

There are irreconcilable ideological differences between two major right-to-life organizations that should supposedly be like-minded: Texas Alliance for Life and Texas Right to Life. Each faction (along with their respective allies) have previously sponsored broad and ambitious bills to either preserve but reform the current law (Texas Alliance for Life’s position) or overturn it altogether as Texas Right to Life aims to do.

Prior to H.B. 3074, bills filed by major advocacy organizations have often included AANH, but also a host of other provisions that were so contentious and unacceptable to other organizations that each bill ultimately died, and this mutually-agreed-upon and vital reform always died along with it.

2011 & 2013 Legislative Sessions present prime example

This 2011 media report shows the clear consensus on need for legislation to simply address the need to protect patients’ rights to food and water:

“Hughes [bill sponsor for Texas Right to Life] has widespread support for one of his bill’s goals: making food and water a necessary part of treatment and not something that can be discontinued, unless providing it would harm the patient.”

Nonetheless, in 2013, both organizations and their allies filed complicated, contentious opposing bills, both of which would have protected a patient’s right to food and water but each bill also included provisions the rival group saw as contrary to their goals. Both bills were ultimately defeated and neither group was able to achieve protections for patients at risk of forced starvation and dehydration – a mutual goal that could have been met through a third, narrow bill like H.B. 3074.

H.B. 3074 finally focuses on what unites the organizations involved rather than what divides them, since these differences have resulted in a 12 year standoff with no progress whatsoever.

H.B. 3074 is progress that is pre-negotiated and pre-approved.

It is not a fertile springboard for negotiations on an area of mutual agreement. Rather it is the culmination of years of previous negotiations on bills that all came too late, either due to the complexnature of rival bills, the controversy involved, or even both.

On the contrary, H.B. 3074 is not just simply an area of agreement; moreover, it is has already been negotiated. It should not be stymied by disagreements on language, since Texas Alliance for Life and Texas Right to Life (along with their allies) were able to agree on language in 2007 with C.S.S.B. 439. C.S.S.B. 439 reads that, unlike the status quo that places no legal conditions on when food and water may be withdrawn, it would be permitted for those in a terminal condition if,

“reasonable medical evidence indicates the provision of artificial nutrition and hydration may hasten the patient’s death or seriously exacerbate other major medical problems and the risk of serious medical pain or discomfort that cannot be alleviated based on reasonable medical judgment outweighs the benefit of continued artificial nutrition and hydration.”

This language is strikingly similar to H.B. 3074 which states, “except that artificially administered nutrition and hydration must be provided unless, based on reasonable medical judgment, providingartificially administered nutrition and hydration would:

  1. Hasten the patient’s death;
  2. Seriously exacerbate other major medical problems not outweighed by the benefit of the provision of the treatment;
  3. Result in substantial irremediable physical pain, suffering, or discomfort not outweighed by the benefit of the provision of the treatment;
  4. Be medically ineffective; or
  5. Be contrary to the patient’s clearly stated desire not to receive artificially administered nutrition or hydration.”

With minimal exceptions (the explicit mention of the word terminal, the issue of medical effectiveness and the patient’s right to refuse), the language is virtually identical, and in 2007 Texas Right to Life affirmed this language as clarifying that “ANH can only be withdrawn if the risk of providing ANH is greater than the benefit of continuing it.”

Texas Right to Life would support the language in H.B. 3074 that already has Texas Alliance for Life’s endorsement. Any reconciliation on the minor differences in language would therefore be minimal and could be made by either side, but ultimately, both sides and their allies would gain a huge victory – the first victory in 12 years on this vital issue.

It seems that the Texas Advance Directive Act, even among its sympathizers, has something for everyone to oppose.

The passage of H.B. 3074 and the legal restoration of rights to feeding tubes for Texas patients will not begin to satisfy critics of the Texas Advance Directives Act who desire much greater changes to the law and will assuredly continue to pursue them. H.B. 3074 in no way marks the end for healthcare reform, but perhaps a shift from the belief that anything short of sweeping changes is an endorsement of the status quo.

Rather, we can look at H.B. 3074 as breaking a barrier and indicating larger changes are possible.

And if nothing else, by passing H.B. 3074 introduced by State Rep. Drew Springer, we afford human beings in Texas the same legal access to food and water that we give to our horses. What is cruel to do to an animal remains legal to do to humans in Texas if organizations continue to insist on the whole of their agenda rather than agreeing to smaller bills like H.B. 3074.

The question is, can twelve years of bad blood and bickering be set aside for even this most noble of causes?

Reprinted from TexasInsider.org with the author's permission. 

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