By Kathleen Gilbert

PITTSBURGH, PA, March 5, 2009 ( – An Ohio couple filed a lawsuit Wednesday accusing doctors of removing a breathing tube from their 18-year-old son, who had suffered a brain injury while skiing, in order to harvest his organs.

Michael and Teresa Jacobs of Bellevue, Ohio, parents of Gregory Jacobs, maintain that their son’s death was caused, not by his injury, but by doctors removing his breathing tube and administering unspecified medication in preparation for organ removal. 

The charges were filed against Pittsburgh’s Hamot Medical Center doctors and a representative of the Center For Organ Recovery and Education (CORE).

The parents also say the CORE representative directed that Jacobs’ organs be removed in the absence of a valid consent.

“But for the intentional trauma or asphyxiation of Gregory Jacobs, he would have lived, or, at the very least, his life would have been prolonged,” says the lawsuit.  “Gregory was alive before defendants started surgery and suffocated him in order to harvest his organs,” which included his heart, liver and kidneys.

The suit maintains that Jacobs “experienced neither a cessation of cardiac activity nor a cessation of brain activities when surgeons began the procedures for removing his vital organs.”

The parents filed the suit in the U. S. District Court in Pittsburgh seeking more than $5 million for their son’s pain and suffering, medical bills, funeral expenses, and punitive damages.

The lawsuit comes only weeks after neurologist Dr. Cicero Coimbra told a Rome “brain death” conference that, “Diagnostic protocols for brain death actually induce death in patients who could recover to normal life by receiving timely and scientifically based therapies.”  (

Coimbra referred to the so-called “apnea test,” whereby living patients who cannot breathe on their own have their ventilator removed, and are deemed “brain dead” if after ten minutes patients do not resume breathing.  The problem with the test, said Coimbra, is that otherwise treatable patients sustain irreversible brain damage by oxygen deprivation during that ten minutes.

See related coverage:

“Brain Death” Test Causes Brain Necrosis and Kills Patients: Neurologist to Rome Conference

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

“Brain Death” is Life, Not Death: Neurologists, Philosophers, Neonatologists, Jurists, and Bioethicists Unanimous at Conference

Doctor to Tell Brain Death Conference Removing Organs from “Brain Dead” Patients Tantamount to Murder

New England Journal of Medicine: ‘Brain Death’ is not Death – Organ Donors are Alive


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