Posted April 25, 2012 by LifeSite News
According to the Daily Mail newspaper, a young British man owes his life to an insistent father who would not allow his son’s organs to be removed from his body, despite assurances from four doctors that his son could not recover from the wounds he had suffered in a recent car accident.
The Mail reports that Stephen Thorpe, then 17, was placed in a medically-induced coma following a multi-car pileup that had already taken the life of his friend Matthew, who was driving the vehicle.
Although a team of four physicians insisted that his son was “brain-dead” following the wreck, Thorpe’s father enlisted the help of a general practitioner and a neurologist, who demonstrated that his son still had brain wave activity. The doctors agreed to bring him out of the coma, and five weeks later Thorpe left the hospital, having almost completely recovered.
Today, the 21-year-old with “brain damage” is studying accounting at a local university. “‘My impression is maybe the hospital weren’t very happy that my father wanted a second opinion,” he told the Mail.
The case is similar to dozens of others LifeSiteNews has reported in recent years, in which comatose or otherwise unconscious patients are declared to be “brain dead,” or hopelessly incurable. In many cases, aggressive doctors seek the organs of the patient for harvesting.
In 2011, the Quebec Hospital Sainte Croix de Drummondville sought permission to extract the eyes of a patient who had choked on hospital food in the absence of a nurse, claiming she was “brain dead.” After the family demanded proof from physicians of her alleged condition, she regained consciousness, and recovered most of her faculties. The family declared its intention to sue the hospital.
In 2008, a 45-year-old Frenchman revived on the operating table as doctors prepared to “harvest” his organs for donation, following cardiac arrest. In the subsequent investigation by the hospital’s ethics committee, a number of doctors admitted that such cases, while rare, were well known to them.
That same year, a “brain dead” 21-year-old American, Zack Dunlap, was about to have his organs harvested when his two sisters, both nurses, decided to test the hospital’s theory that his brain was no longer functioning. Family members poked his feet with a knife and dug their fingernails under his nails, provoking strong reactions by Dunlap and proving he was conscious. He recovered completely. He later related that he was conscious and aware as doctors discussed harvesting his organs in his presence.
The term “brain death” was invented in 1968 to accommodate the need to acquire vital organs in their “freshest” state from a donor who some argue is still very much alive.
While death had previously been defined as lack of respiration and heart activity, “brain death” was judged as compatible with an otherwise living patient. “Brain death” has never been rigorously defined, and there are no standardized tests to determine if the condition exists.
Dr. John Shea, a medical advisor to LifeSiteNews.com, points out that patients diagnosed as “brain dead” often continue to exhibit brain functions.
In “Organ Donation: The Inconvenient Truth”, Shea states that the criteria for “brain death” only “test for the absence of some specific brain reflexes. Functions of the brain that are not considered are temperature control, blood pressure, cardiac rate and salt and water balance. When a patient is declared brain dead, these functions are not only still present, but also frequently active.” (read more)