NewsThu Mar 27, 2008 - 12:15 pm EST
Doctor Says about “Brain Dead” Man Saved from Organ Harvesting - “Brain Death is Never Really Death”
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
Russian Surgeons Removing Organs Saying Patients Almost Dead Anyway
‘Little miracles’: Mom gives birth to naturally-conceived quintuplets after refusing ‘selective reduction’
AUSTRALIA, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) -- A 26-year-old Australian mom has given birth to five healthy babies, all conceived naturally, after refusing the doctor’s advice that she must abort three of them in order to give the remaining two a better chance at life.
“After my initial ultrasound I was told I could consider the selection method to give 2 babies the best chance in life,” wrote mom Kim Tucci in a Facebook post last September.
“I watched a YouTube video on the procedure and I cried. I could never do that! Was I selfish for not giving two the chance of 100% survival? All I knew is that I already love them and that every heart beat I heard I connect with them more. For me life starts when a heart starts beating and all I know for sure is that I will do whatever it takes to bring them into this world healthy,” she wrote.
Last Thursday Kim and her husband Vaughn welcomed the five new members into their family — one boy and four girls —increasing the number of their children from 3 to 8. The babies were born at 30 weeks, 10 weeks early, due to insufficient space in Kim’s womb. They weighed on average about 2.5 pounds.
The quintuplets’ story began last March, after Kim and Vaughn had been trying for six months to conceive just one more child for their family. Due to health complications, Kim wondered if she would ever become a mother again.
After what she thought was an extra long cycle, she decided to take a pregnancy test.
“I was feeling tired and a little nauseated and thought I would take a pregnancy test just to get the ‘what if’ out of my head. To my shock and utter excitement it was positive,” she wrote on a Facebook post.
The parents got the shock of their lives when doctors confirmed in an ultrasound examination that there was not one baby, but five.
“After a long wait for the ultrasound we finally went in. The sonographer told me there were multiple gestational sacks, but she could only see a heart beat in two. I was so excited! Twins!”
“I was moved to another machine for a clearer view and had the head doctor come in and double check the findings. She started to count, one, two, three, four, five. Did i hear that correctly? Five? My legs start to shake uncontrollably and all i can do is laugh. The sonographer then told me the term for five is ‘quintuplets,’” Kim wrote.
Even though Kim began to feel stretched to the limit with all those human lives growing inside her, she chose to focus on her babies, and not herself, referring to them as “my five little miracles.”
“It's getting harder as each day passes to push through the pain, every part of my body aches and sleeping is becoming very painful. No amount of pillows are helping support my back and belly. Sometimes I get so upset that I just want to throw my hands up and give in.”
“Sometimes my pelvis becomes so stiff I can barely walk and my hips feel like they are grinding away constantly. I'm finding it hard to eat as I basically have no room left in my stomach, and the way it is positioned it's pushed all the way back with the babies leaning against it.”
“My skin on my belly is so stretched its painful and hot to touch. It literally feels like I have hives! No amount of cream helps relieve the discomfort. I have a lot of stretch marks now. Dealing with such a huge change in my body is hard.”
“Is it all worth it? Yes!!!! I will keep pushing through,” she wrote in one Facebook post days before the babies were born.
The newborns' names are Keith, Ali, Penelope, Tiffany, and Beatrix. They were born at King Edward Memorial Hospital in Subiaco, Western Australia. Mother and babies are reported to be doing well.
UN rights chief tells Catholic countries to legalize abortion over Zika virus: bishops and cardinal react
GENEVA, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) -- The United Nations, following the lead of international abortion activists, is now urging Latin American countries hit by the mosquito-borne Zika virus to lift restrictions on abortion for pregnant women who have contacted the virus and whose pre-born children may be at risk for birth defects, including having smaller than normal heads.
The UN human rights office said today that it is not enough for South American countries to urge women to postpone pregnancy without also offering them abortion as a final solution.
“How can they ask these women not to become pregnant, but not offer… the possibility to stop their pregnancies?” UN spokeswoman Cecile Pouilly told reporters.
UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said that governments should make available contraception and abortion services.
“Laws and policies that restrict (women’s) access to these services must be urgently reviewed in line with human rights obligations in order to ensure the right to health for all in practice,” he said.
But Brazil’s bishops strongly asserted yesterday that efforts should be made to eradicate the virus, not the people who may be infected by it.
The disease is “no justification whatsoever to promote abortion,” they said in a statement, adding that it is not morally acceptable to promote abortion “in the cases of microcephaly, as, unfortunately, some groups are proposing to the Supreme Federal Court, in a total lack of respect for the gift of life.”
Honduras Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga has also come out strongly against the notion of “therapeutic abortions” as a response to the problem. Unlike Brazil where abortion is legal in the case of rape or health of the mother, abortion remains entirely illegal in Honduras.
“We should never talk about ‘therapeutic’ abortion,” the cardinal said in a homily at a February 3 Mass in Suyap. “Therapeutic abortion doesn’t exist. Therapeutic means curing, and abortion cures nothing. It takes innocent lives,” he said.
While the World Health Organization (WHO) declared an international public health emergency February 1 on account of concerns over the virus, critics have pointed out, however, that not one death as resulted from the virus. Even on WHO’s own website the virus is described in mild terms.
“It causes mild fever and rash. Other symptoms include muscle pain, joint pain, headache, pain behind the eyes and conjunctivitis. Zika virus disease is usually mild, with symptoms lasting only a few days,” the website states. “To date, there have been no reported deaths associated with Zika virus,” it added.
Critics suspect that the crisis is being manipulated to advance an anti-human agenda on the pre-born.
“Is Zika, actually, a hideous virus that threatens to spread uncontrollably across the world creating an army of disabled children with tiny heads and low IQ’s? Or might this be a willful misinterpretation of the scarce data to manipulate public opinion and legislatures?” wrote pro-life critic Mei-Li Garcia earlier this week.
“It becomes very clear that the publicity surrounding this story has a very little to do with medicine and a lot to do with a convenient crisis that is being used by those pushing for the legalization of abortion around the world,” she wrote.
Hillary’s litmus test for Supreme Court picks: They must ‘preserve Roe v. Wade’
DERRY, NH, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) - Hillary Clinton has a litmus test for Supreme Court nominees - several, in fact. At a Democratic event on Wednesday, Clinton unveiled her criteria in selecting a judge for the nation's highest court.
“I do have a litmus test, I have a bunch of litmus tests," she said.
"We’ve got to make sure to preserve Roe v. Wade, not let it be nibbled away or repealed,” she said.
That echoes her recent call to arms speech before Planned Parenthood last month, when she stated that taxpayers must fund abortion-on-demand in order to uphold the "right" of choice.
“We have to preserve marriage equality,” Clinton said, referring to last summer's Obergefell v. Hodges case, a 5-4 ruling that redefined marriage nationwide. “We have to go further to end discrimination against the LGBT community."
Her views differentiate her from the Republican front runners. Ted Cruz has called the court's marriage ruling "fundamentally illegitimate," and Donald Trump told Fox News Sunday this week that he would "be very strong on putting certain judges on the bench that I think maybe could change things." Marco Rubio has said he won't "concede" the issue to the one-vote majority.
All Republican presidential hopefuls say they are pro-life and will defund Planned Parenthood.
Her husband, Bill Clinton, raised the makeup of the Supreme Court early last month in New Hampshire, saying it receives "almost no attention" as a campaign issue.
On Wednesday, Hillary said "the next president could get as many as three appointments. It’s one of the many reasons why we can’t turn the White House over to the Republicans again.”
Clinton said her judicial appointees must also reverse the Citizens United ruling on campaign finance and oppose a recent decision striking down a portion of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. In 2013's Shelby County v. Holder, justices struck down Section 4(b) of the act, which said that certain states and jurisdictions had to obtain permission from the federal government before changing their voting laws.
At one time, most politicians frowned upon any "litmus test" for judicial nominees, emphasizing the independence of the third branch of government. "I don't believe in litmus tests," Jeb Bush told Chuck Todd last November.
But with the rise of an activist judiciary in the middle of the 20th century, constitutionalists have sought to rein in the power of the bench.