Friday, July 17, 2009

Bring Out Your Dead - Just Not Now

When is "dead" not really dead? That's an issue tackled today in the National Post.

The question revolves around the point at which helpful hospital staff can begin playing pickpocket with your internal organs, harvesting what they can for recycling in some other poor soul. The article warns of a "trend" of stripping organs from patients who have suffered cardiac death - no pulse - but may not yet be truly brain dead. Get'em while they're fresh!

Trouble is, you see, stopped hearts can sometimes be restarted. I know. Sometimes it's the paddles, sometimes it's a shot of adrenalin straight into the heart. But, surely, should the medical team not give up the ghost on us until we've really given up the ghost ourselves?

Dalhousie medical ethicist Jocelyn Downie has written a paper in which she suggests medical staff may be breaking the law in their rush to help save other patients from mortal illness.

The cardiac-death protocol, meanwhile, should probably be halted until more is known about when someone whose heart has stopped is beyond recovery, Prof. Downie said.
"We need clarity around this because it is critically important for a host of reasons," she said in an interview.
"It's only after the declaration of death that certain things can happen: We can take your organs, we can bury you, we can do an autopsy ... we can trigger all sorts of things around your property."

Who knows, is this next? -

1 comment:

Saskboy said...

I'm a proud organ donor. Or rather I hope to be one some day if they take organs from dead 104 year olds.