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Brain Death and the Organ Donor Conspiracy

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posted on Sep, 18 2012 @ 08:49 AM
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Greetings, ATS!

I recently read an amazing book titled “The Undead” by Dick Teresi. In the book, Teresi sheds light on the uncertainty of brain death and how the current definition of brain death may lead doctors to harvest the organs of people who, in the fullness of time, might recovery completely.

This shocked me. After all, brain dead is the same as dead, right? Turns out that is a very common misconception, and one that medical professionals still argue over today.

In order to better understand the problem, we need to take a closer look at how we define death. In the past, a patient was declared dead when his heart stopped beating and the lungs stopped breathing. With the advent of medical technology, doctors have been able to postpone the moment of death by keeping patients on life support. Patients may survive a traumatic injury for years on life support, although they may never regain consciousness (or what we define as consciousness…more later).

In 1968, a Harvard Committeedefined brain death as the following:
• Patient displays no response to pain or cranial nerve reflexes
• Patient has fixed pupils
• Patient has no vestibulo-ocular reflex (Normally, when you tilt a person’s head to the side, the eyes will move. Patients who have brain damage in a certain area will have what is known as doll’s eyes; the eyes do not move when the head is turned side to side. Instead, the eyes stare straight ahead, like a doll’s)
• Patient has no corneal reflex (touching the exposed eye with a swab or finger should cause the person to blink)
• Patient does not respond to caloric reflex test (squirting ice-cold water into the ear)
• Patient does not breathe spontaneously on his own

The interesting thing to note is that the above requirements all have to do with the functioning of the brain stem. However, they do not indicate whether the rest of the brain is working.

Before we go any further, let’s review the functions of the different parts of the brain. This is a very basic breakdown, and I’m only discussing the brain stem and the cortex, because these systems have the most bearing on brain death.


The brain stem is responsible for basic vital life functions such as breathing, heartbeat, and blood pressure. Scientists say that this is the "simplest" part of human brains because animals' entire brains, such as reptiles (who appear early on the evolutionary scale) resemble our brain stem.

Without a functioning brain stem, it is impossible to maintain life (except on life support). This is why the Harvard Criteria for Brain Death focuses solely on the brain stem. But let’s hold that thought for a moment, and review the cortex.

The cerebrum or cortex is the largest part of the human brain, associated with higher brain function such as thought and action. The cerebral cortex is divided into four sections, called "lobes": the frontal lobe, parietal lobe, occipital lobe, and temporal lobe. What do each of these lobes do?

Frontal Lobe- associated with reasoning, planning, parts of speech, movement, emotions, and problem solving

Parietal Lobe- associated with movement, orientation, recognition, perception of stimuli

Occipital Lobe- associated with visual processing

Temporal Lobe- associated with perception and recognition of auditory stimuli, memory, and speech

Now, here’s what has many people questioning the legitimacy of declaring someone brain dead. We assume that if someone has a non-functioning brain stem, that the rest of the brain must also be destroyed. This is not necessarily the case. In fact, there are reports of people declared “brain dead” who are conscious the entire time; they feel pain, experience thirst, and are completely unable to communicate with the world around them. Why? Because, although their brain stem is incapacitated, the higher centers of their brain still work.

But don’t take my word for it. Let’s take a look at some cases of “mistaken” diagnosis….folks who were declared brain dead but were really suffering from different conditions.

From The New England Journal of Medicine Misdiagnosis of brain death is possible if a locked-in syndrome, hypothermia, or drug intoxication is not recognized. The locked-in syndrome is usually a consequence of the destruction of the base of the pons. The patient cannot move the limbs, grimace, or swallow, but the upper rostral mesencephalic structuresinvolved in voluntary blinking and vertical eye movements remain intact. Consciousness persists because the tegmentum, with the reticular formation, is not affected. The condition is most often caused by an acute embolus to the basilar artery. More dramatic is the reversible Guillain–Barré syndrome involving all the peripheral and cranial nerves. The progression occurs over a period of days, and knowledge of the history should prevent the dangerous error of diagnosing brain death.

Accidental hypothermia from prolonged environmental exposure may mimic loss of brain function, but alcohol intoxication and head injury are often major confounders. Hypothermia causes a downward spiral of loss of brain-stem reflexes and pupillary dilatation. The response to light is lost at core temperatures of 28°C to 32°C, and brain-stem reflexes disappear when the core temperature drops below 28°C.These deficits are all potentially reversible, even after extreme hypothermia.

Want a specific example? Consider the case of Steven Thorpe

“The schoolboy was travelling in a Rover with two friends in February 2008 when a stray horse ran into the path of the car in front of them. Steven suffered serious injuries to his face, head and arm, and was declared brain dead two days later. He said: ‘The doctors were telling my parents that they wanted to take me off the life support. The words they used to my parents were “You need to start thinking about organ donations”. Accountant Mr Thorpe, 51, contacted private GP Julia Piper, known for her work in traditional and alternative medicines. Moved by their story, she asked a neurosurgeon whom she knew to visit Steven at University Hospital in Coventry. Incredibly, he concluded that Steven was not brain dead and that there was still a slim chance of recovery. Doctors agreed to try to bring Steven out of his chemically-induced coma to see if he could survive. Two weeks later, he woke up.He said: ‘It’s very worrying to think that more than one specialist had written me off.”


Another story, this time the young man actually heard the doctors pronounce him brain dead.


So how many misdiagnosis of brain death occurs each year? Although I searched I found no hard evidence or statistics that would indicate the rate of misdiagnosis, probably because the only way to recognize that someone was wrongly diagnosed is if they recover.

So, now that we know that some brain dead patients are, in fact, alive and conscious….how does that tie in with an organ donation conspiracy?

Well, lets take a closer look at the organ donation industry. Who benefits financially from organ donation? Not the patient who receives the organ, nor the patient’s family who donates the organ. So who’s making the money? The transplant team. And they only get paid if a “harvest” and transplant takes place.

Now, I don’t mean to imply that transplant surgeons are greedy, unethical doctors who are eager to declare everyone brain dead just so they can make money. But is it possible that SOME doctors would encourage a diagnosis of brain death more quickly if the family is willing to donate organs? Perhaps they are so eager to save another person’s life that they regard the donor as simply a “beating heart cadaver.”

According to Dick Teresi, that answer is a probable yes. He contends that some doctors will hastily declare brain death either out of willful neglect or simple incompetence.

Obviously, organ donation saves lives and I don’t want to discourage anyone from donating your organs. I’m an organ donor, but after reading this book and doing my research, I’ve left some specific instructions for my family to make sure my “brain death” is not misdiagnosed. These preventive measures include disconnection from life support for a minimum of 5 minutes (the current standard is 2 minutes) to make sure I do not take voluntary breaths. I also want a brain scan that checks the cortex for activity, not just the brain stem.

There is a lot of information I did not include in this op, but are fascinating nevertheless. I highly recommend reading the book if you are interested.
edit on 18-9-2012 by smyleegrl because: (no reason given)




posted on Sep, 18 2012 @ 09:39 AM
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reply to post by smyleegrl
 


Excellent thread!

Organ donation is BIG business.

While I support the idea of organ donation, in all honestly, the concept really creeps me out.


Here is a related thread I once did on the subject:

BODY SNATCHERS: The illegal organ harvest trade...Its BIGGER than you think.

S&F

So many areas of potential abuse....
edit on 18-9-2012 by loam because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 18 2012 @ 10:14 AM
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reply to post by loam
 


Thanks for replying. I was beginning to think no one would.

Yes, the organ donation business has a lot of potential for abuse. What really surprised me, though, was how they declare you brain dead; seems very simplistic to me.



posted on Sep, 18 2012 @ 10:48 AM
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reply to post by smyleegrl
 


It's a strange subject and a strange reaction from the membership.

My thread too languished a bit before it finally got some discussion.

I'll bet yours will take off eventually too. You've posted some interesting material.



posted on Sep, 18 2012 @ 11:11 AM
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reply to post by smyleegrl
 

I think after watching an autopsy it's hard for a person to accept somebody cutting you open.

It just seems too heartless somehow.

I know we're just flesh and bone and when we die we're dead forever.

But .... it just somehow seems wrong.

Up till now I was a donor on my license, but not sure how I'll take it going into the future.

And relatively small things can cause them to do an autopsy. When they do an autopsy they cut you open and take things out. They even remove your brain from its cavity (to weight it I think).
edit on 18-9-2012 by jonnywhite because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 18 2012 @ 11:22 AM
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I dont think there is to much to worry about, the average wait for a transplant of any kind is 12-18 months once you are on a list.

There is big money, the average transplant is over $1 Mil. by the time you include everything.

But coming from someone who is in need of a transplant or facing death in a year or two, i am very glad that they do have the option. There are all sorts of checks and balances in the process, Being involved in it, its not as easy to get a transplant as one would think.



posted on Sep, 18 2012 @ 11:55 AM
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reply to post by severdsoul
 


Unless you have money.


If you look at my thread, you'll understand just how big this business is...



posted on Sep, 18 2012 @ 12:23 PM
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Originally posted by severdsoul
I dont think there is to much to worry about, the average wait for a transplant of any kind is 12-18 months once you are on a list.

There is big money, the average transplant is over $1 Mil. by the time you include everything.

But coming from someone who is in need of a transplant or facing death in a year or two, i am very glad that they do have the option. There are all sorts of checks and balances in the process, Being involved in it, its not as easy to get a transplant as one would think.


I'm so sorry to hear about your situation, and I do hope you find a donor. My own family has benefited from the organ donor industry; a relative received a kidney about five years ago.

I do NOT want to scare folks away from donating organs...it truly saves lives. Just make sure if you have a loved one declared brain dead, that the doctor isn't in such a hurry to donate organs that they don't try to save your loved one.

Best of luck to you..



posted on Sep, 18 2012 @ 01:17 PM
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Oh my dear sister Linda, I love you so much and I hope you didn't suffer. I told them you squeezed my hand- just a little. Barely noticeable. They said something about involuntary reflex or something. I said (or did I just scream it in my head?) if there's involuntary reflex, then there's signal, then there's brain activity!

It was not my decision to take you off life support, but that is no excuse for not fighting for you. You squeezed MY hand (I think) and so you called out to ME to help you. God help me, I let your husband and the "experts" decide to pull the plug.

Did your heart-rate not fluctuate for a couple of minutes? Is that not a sign of signals attempting to keep it going? If no signals from the brain, would it not just stop immediately?

I am so sorry they did not have to take me out kicking and screaming and restrain me. I am so sorry I did not fight for you. Ten years out, yet it still plagues me to this day.

OP: You are not responsible for my feelings by bringing up this topic. Thank you for giving my grief a voice.
edit on 9/18/2012 by new_here because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 18 2012 @ 01:21 PM
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reply to post by new_here
 


Wow, my friend. I can't even begin to imagine what you've gone through and what you're going through now.

In my reading, I will tell you that many, many times the person does exhibit muscle twitches, and that these don't necessarily mean the person is conscious or even retains the ability to breathe or survive on their own. Most of the time, I believe they really are motor twitches and spasms.

I wish I knew something helpful to say to you.....



posted on Sep, 18 2012 @ 01:50 PM
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Originally posted by smyleegrl
reply to post by new_here
 


Wow, my friend. I can't even begin to imagine what you've gone through and what you're going through now.

In my reading, I will tell you that many, many times the person does exhibit muscle twitches, and that these don't necessarily mean the person is conscious or even retains the ability to breathe or survive on their own. Most of the time, I believe they really are motor twitches and spasms.

I wish I knew something helpful to say to you.....


Thank you, smyleegrl, but rest assured that nothing you could say could ever erase the doubt in my mind. Only if Linda herself appeared before me and told me, would I know for sure. (Even then, I would undoubtedly question that
my mind was creating an apparition to soothe my soul.)

The only thing that gives me comfort is knowing that I did the best I could with the information I had, in my traumatized human state of mind.

Thank you again for giving me a platform to vent these feelings, even though I know it wasn't the intent your posting.

ETA: Maybe my experience could impact someone's life down the road in regards to this issue of brain death. Maybe it will give them pause, to question 'the experts' and not take everything in on blind faith.
edit on 9/18/2012 by new_here because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 18 2012 @ 04:41 PM
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Like many people organ donation is not something I gave a second’s thought to, until it was me in need. But giving the gift of life is one of the most incredible things someone can do.

I'm like severdsoul..I need a Double Lung transplant (due to CF) or i will be facing death in a year or two..I'm on a transplant list but Ive been waiting 2 years now and i might not even get any new lungs before i pass on..

I support the idea of organ donation..but if you had a son or daughter in need of an organ, would you be saying ? But i do agree organ donation business has a lot of potential for abuse ..But threads like this make people not want to be donating organs ..

But on the other hand if i wasn't in need of a transplant maybe i would be thinking differently about all this but i doubt it..peace,sugarcookie1



posted on Sep, 18 2012 @ 05:07 PM
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reply to post by smyleegrl
 


I used to work with an RN who was on the organ transplant team in Boise, MT. She isn't an organ donor, more importantly, none of the surgeons on the team were organ donors. I wonder if there is a list to check to see how many physicians are actually organ donors.

I guess a lot of inner-city people are not organ donors, because so many young, healthy children are shot - which makes them a huge possibility for organ donating. I have heard families come into emergency rooms shouting "Don't take their organs."

A conspiracy to look into.

Why isn't more money spent in developing stem cells from the self, instead of embryonic stem cell research?

Because big pharma makes alot of money with anti-reaction drugs with organ transplants and embryonic stem cell research.



posted on Sep, 18 2012 @ 05:29 PM
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Originally posted by sugarcookie1
Like many people organ donation is not something I gave a second’s thought to, until it was me in need. But giving the gift of life is one of the most incredible things someone can do.

I'm like severdsoul..I need a Double Lung transplant (due to CF) or i will be facing death in a year or two..I'm on a transplant list but Ive been waiting 2 years now and i might not even get any new lungs before i pass on..

I support the idea of organ donation..but if you had a son or daughter in need of an organ, would you be saying ? But i do agree organ donation business has a lot of potential for abuse ..But threads like this make people not want to be donating organs ..

But on the other hand if i wasn't in need of a transplant maybe i would be thinking differently about all this but i doubt it..peace,sugarcookie1


There's no need to fear donating organs IF the doctor does a comprehensive brain scan. I personally think, as more attention is called to the ambiguity of brain death, that such a scan will become common place. That's why I'm still an organ donor, just with requirements.

I hate to hear about your situation, and best wishes for the future. It just sounds so empty to say, but it's heartfelt.



posted on Sep, 18 2012 @ 06:07 PM
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My wife and I both have advanced directives or a living will regarding certain situations.

I don't speak for her but in 16 years I have come to learn her reasons for some decisions are very similar to mine.

Honestly, if I can't move or interact with the world - I want out...please pull the plug(s) and donate any usable parts to someone who can.

We have also made a pact with one another (not in writing of course as we'd probably go to jail) that if the other one is in pain from some debilitating illness and has had enough that come hell or high water we will do our best to help the other end it for them.

Call me a coward or whatever; however, understand while I have served over 7 years of combat tours in various locations.

There are just some ways I don't want to live. Quadriplegic is one of them - just friggin kill me and pass out the organs to someone who can actually "use" them. My brain might be fine but what good is it to me if I can’t interact.

I guess Johnny Got His Gun made an impression on me. I can imagine slowly going insane in the prison of my own body and no one will even be the wiser.



posted on Sep, 18 2012 @ 07:15 PM
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reply to post by smyleegrl
 


I created an account just so I could respond to this post.

Back in March, my dad died. He was at home with his girlfriend, and he took "a few" percocet (according to her). He went unconscious and she called 911. When I saw him in the emergency room he was still unconscious. The doctors were telling him to squeeze his left hand, move his right foot, etc. He did the correct motions twice. He was in the hospital for 4 days and they declared him brain dead. The doctor did all of the required tests that you had listed. They did them twice, 6 hours apart or something like that. I remember doing some fast researching on the internet and reading about how people had come back from being declared brain dead. I asked the doctor if we could leave him on life support for a few more days to see if anything would happen. He said no. He told me that the rule in Pennsylvania was, if a patient fails the brain-dead test twice, they are dead.

About 15 minutes after he left the little room where they tell you the bad news, this woman and a nurse walked in. The woman was from the organ donation place and she informed me that- good news! My dad was an organ donor and wasn't that just amazing. I signed a bunch of papers assuming he was dead and what good would his organs be in the ground. They assured me that this wouldn't interfere with the autopsy at all, that the organ donor people work with the medical examiner all the time and they have procedures that they follow.

Fast forward to now. I have since been told, after waiting five months, through 2 separate "lab errors" that the cause of my father's dead is officially "undetermined". The medical examiner told me that since he had limited specimens to work with since I had given away all of his organs, he couldn't tell us what happened.

Now granted, my dad was no angel. He did drugs and drank and was a pretty crappy person in general. But I did find it strange how they rushed us through the process of getting him off of the life support and getting his organs out of him. And now we don't know how he died. Not that it changes anything. Just interesting I guess.


But anyway, yeah, I agree. The criteria should be more in depth. Also, I haven't looked into it, but are there states where he wouldn't have been declared dead? The way the doctor said "according to the state of PA he is dead" makes me wonder.



posted on Sep, 18 2012 @ 08:02 PM
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GREAT! nightmare material for me! That is some scary sh1t to say the least. I can only speak for myself but if my brain stem is gone, I don't want to "live" and be that burden on anyone....not to even mention how hard that would suck for me in a possible lifetime prison of my own body. What is the conspiracy part of the brain dead? Just that we really can't say for sure if a person is really, fully brain dead? It does raise some interesting points but for me, I will stick with the good old "DNR"
Almost forgot, why can't the person who's life was saved by the organ donor not be allowed to know the family of the person who gave the organs?! If my heart went to someone, I would love our two family to "merge", it would be an unbelievable feeling to have my wife to sit next to the person that now carries my heart...ya know?
edit on 18-9-2012 by Hr2burn because: Forgot



posted on Sep, 18 2012 @ 09:39 PM
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reply to post by Hr2burn
 


When you're "brain dead" and they cut you open and harvest your organs, they use no anesthesia, they can't, they need your organs unmedicated.



posted on Sep, 18 2012 @ 10:25 PM
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reply to post by smyleegrl
 


Great Thread here! Love all the research and time you put into it!
However, it made me start thinking.(O No, Look Out, LOL)
Who's to say how many of our Organs are Not Taken, without surviving Family members ever knowing the difference? I know it's Cynical but, I mean, they only see us (the deceased) at the Funeral. We could just be stuffed. How can one really know that, like, Black Market Organ Harvesting is NOT going on? I would think there are People who will take advantage of such a situation out there and all. Especially with the grief we suffer at the loss of our loved ones, who would think of such a thing. I know I haven't even thought of this before, and have lost a LOT of Relatives, Friends, ClassMates......
Don't mean to detract from Your OP, but it has me wondering....... Thanx for the Share, Syx.



posted on Sep, 18 2012 @ 11:35 PM
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Originally posted by Happy1
reply to post by Hr2burn
 


When you're "brain dead" and they cut you open and harvest your organs, they use no anesthesia, they can't, they need your organs unmedicated.


Honestly - a few moments of pain for an eternity of release seems fair to me...

I spent some time at Walter Reed after getting wounded.

I can't imagine the horror some of these kids live through on a daily basis.

I got shot (in the calf at that) - so what that was nothing, kids 19-20 with no legs pissing/crapping in a bag for the rest of their lives. Some burned to the point of being all but unrecognizable to their family. No thanks.

Those that choose to fight in that condition are more heroic than I would ever be - the moment I got a gun in my hands I'd check out. It takes more courage to live in some cases than it does to die.

I admit my cowardice when it comes to that - I don't want to live that way.

I certainly don't want to live on a machine even if (no especially if) I am wide awake on the inside - a prisoner in the shell that was once me.





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