One in five ‘brain dead’ patients still alive, claims lawsuit
NEW YORK, October 1, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – At least one in five patients declared “brain dead” and approved as “organ donors” by one organ donation organisation, are in fact still alive and are being killed by the removal of vital organs, a lawsuit filed last week in Manhattan alleges. The suit outlines the ghoulish worst-case scenario, one that was widely dismissed as scaremongering in the early days of the development of organ transplant technology, but which is getting a second hearing amidst growing concerns that coercion and abuse are becoming increasingly common in the highly lucrative transplant business.
Patrick McMahon, a nurse practitioner and Air Force combat veteran, launched the suit in New York alleging that a major organ donation group is using a quota system for obtaining viable organs. He says it is applying pressure on families and doctors to declare patients dead who are, in fact, still alive and could recover.
The New York Organ Donor Network, McMahon says, even hires “coaches” to help obtain consent “notes”. These coaches, the suit contends, are nothing more than sales and marketing experts who teach transplant coordinators to use high-pressure psychological tactics to play on the emotions of vulnerable family members. The suit alleges that employees who failed to make their quotas were fired.
“You’re not there for grief counselling,” he told the Daily Mail, “you’re there to get organs. It’s all about sales—and that’s pretty much a direct quote from the organisation. Counsellors are required to get a 30 per cent consent rate from families.” The top “counsellors” get a Christmas bonus, he added.
McMahon’s suit cites one case in which a 19-year-old car crash victim was struggling to breathe and showing signs of brain activity, but doctors signed off on the “donation.” The suit alleges that Network director, Michael Goldstein, “bullied” staff at the Nassau University Medical Center. It quotes him telling a conference call, “This kid is dead, you got that?”
“I have been in Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan in combat. I worked on massive brain injuries, trauma, gunshot wounds, IEDs. I have seen worse cases than this and the victims recover,” McMahon told the Washington Post.
McMahon was an employee of the Organ Donor Network, but was fired shortly after bringing his concerns to the attention of the CEO. The suit was filed on September 25 in Manhattan Supreme Court and says that on November 4 last year, McMahon spoke with Helen Irving, the president and CEO of the Organ Donor Network. He told her that, “one in five patients declared brain dead show signs of brain activity” when the official notice of brain death is issued.
The suit quotes Irving replying, “This is how things are done.”
The Washington Post quoted Organ Donor Network’s spokesman Julia Rivera saying that though she had not seen the documents, claims of a quota system are “ridiculous.” “There are no quotas.”
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McMahon’s suit accuses the Network of “wrongful and illegal practices.” McMahon was fired from his position as a transplant coordinator on November 15th, just days after his alleged conversation with Helen Irving. The stated reason, he was told by the Network, was failure to properly satisfy job requirements and inefficiency, accusations he calls “ridiculous” and “totally false.”
“It’s atrocious what’s going on,” McMahon told Staten Island Live. “These individuals that aren’t brain dead can’t speak for themselves. The family members aren’t experts. I’m trying to stop [the network] from doing this,” he said.
The suit alleges that in another case a man admitted to Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn was also showing signs of brain activity, but though McMahon protested, the man was declared brain dead and his organs were removed. In a third case cited, a woman was declared brain dead after being admitted to Staten Island University Hospital for a drug overdose. McMahon says when she was having her organs removed, he noticed she was being administered a “paralyzing anesthetic” drug to stop her body from jerking on the operating table.
He told the Daily Mail, “She was having brain function when they were cutting into her on the table. He had given her a paralyser and there’s no reason to give someone who is dead a paralyser.”
On being confronted, the hospital staffer administering the drug told McMahon that he had been told to do it because she was moving as her chest was being cut open. “A paralyser only paralyses you, it does nothing for the pain,” McMahon told the Mail.
In that case, McMahon said, surgeons “took everything”. “They took her eyes, her joints. She was right there when I was having the conversation. They were inserting the plastic bones where the real ones had been.”
In response to McMahon’s protests, Network staff told the hospital he was “an untrained troublemaker with a history of raising frivolous issues and questions.”
“Despite these facts, over [McMahon’s] vehement objections, NYODN continued to process the female patient and allowed the life-ending surgery to go forward,” the court documents say. “NYODN’s actions are the direct cause for the female patient’s premature death.”
Ethicists continue to warn that money, not altruism, is the driving force behind organ transplants that have become a multi-billion dollar, global industry. In 2008, after the Vatican’s own Pontifical Academy for Life co-sponsored a high-profile international conference on organ transplantation, many in the pro-life community protested that no mention was made by any speaker of the ethical concerns over coercion or death criteria.
But after the vociferous international outcry, Pope Benedict XVI himself issued a stern warning in his address to the conference attendees, saying that the primary concern must be that organ transplantation does not devolve into a choice of one life over another. “Informed consent is the precondition of freedom, so that the transplant has the characteristic of a gift and cannot be interpreted as an act of coercion or exploitation,” the pope said. The medical community must reject the illicit trade in organs “which often affect innocent people such as children” and the “utilitarian criteria” for donation. These must be, he said, “strongly condemned as abominable.”
In 2008, the New England Journal of Medicine printed an article that frankly argued that “brain death” is a sham. The article, co-authored by Dr. Robert D. Truog, a professor of medical ethics and anesthesia (pediatrics) in the Departments of Anesthesia and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, said the scientific literature does not support the criteria for ‘brain death’ and ‘cardiac death’ as being real death. “Although it may be ethical to remove vital organs from these patients, we believe that the reason it is ethical cannot convincingly be that the donors are dead,” the article said.
So open has the “brain death” secret become in medical circles that some are urging that such criteria simply be dropped. Dr. Neil Lazar, director of the medical-surgical intensive care unit at Toronto General Hospital, Dr. Maxwell J. Smith of the University of Toronto, and David Rodriguez-Arias of Universidad del Pais Vasco in Spain, admitted at a major conference that the pretense should be ended and that organs should be allowed to be removed from “dying” or “severely injured” patients. This more “honest” approach, they said, would avoid the problems created by purely ideological definitions of death that are known to be mere pretexts to expand the organ donor pool.
‘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.
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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.
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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.