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Friday, December 19, 2014

Concerning Delaware HB 302-Organ Donation Legislation

Posted by Gary on May 28, 2008

Here is yet another national story of a woman who was declared brain dead and has recovered. If you listen carefully you will hear that doctors were about to remove her organs when she revived though she had been declared dead:

http://cosmos.bcst.yahoo.com/up/player/popup/?cl=7932917

We have spoken against proposed legislation here in Delaware that would presume participation and intent in organ donation unless one opts out. Chief amongst our concerns is that vital organ removal happens under the diagnosis (guise) of brain death which is not death as this story proves.

The response we have received is that HB 302 has nothing to do with brain death or end of life issues. What lawmakers refuse to acknowledge is that if they pass HB 302 they would be making a statement to the public advocating organ donation more strongly than ever. Whenever we advocate something to others we take a moral obligation upon ourselves about the process or position that we advocate. Organ donation cannot be divorced from the brain death diagnosis and in advocating organ donation lawmakers would be (whether they acknowledge so or not) also advocate the means by which organs are taken, brain death.

In the last six months there have been three national stories of people diagnosed brain dead who then recovered. Two of these were moments from having their organs removed, yet lawmakers still insist that this has no bearing on the fact that they want to presume participation in organ donation.

On top of all this, an important voice from Harvard (who gave us the brain death diagnosis) recently stated that he doesn’t believe people diagnosed as brain dead are dead. This quote is mind-boggling but here it is:

“It’s completely ethical to remove organs from patients we diagnose as brain dead. It’s just ethical for reasons other than that we think they’re dead, because I don’t think they are.” (Dr. Robert Truog, director of clinical ethics at Harvard Medical School and a physician at Children’s Hospital Boston)

See the full story here:

http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2008/03/09/fatal_flaw/

We present information like this and the response seems to be a yawn. Does it not trouble anyone that for forty years we have been assuring people that their loved ones are dead and it is safe to take their organs only now to be told otherwise? The initial story linked above is further proof that brain death is not death. But here in Delaware we don’t seem to think it important to take this to heart, we stick to our politically precise answer, “HB 302 only has to do with how people get into the organ donor program”.

Lawmakers everywhere need to take a serious, honest look at organ donation and how states arrive at the declaration of death. We have been dishonest with many, many people all for the purpose of getting organs.

Truth and time go hand in hand.