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OrganFacts.net

The truth behind
organ donation
& transplants

The truth behind organ donation & transplants


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… The truth behind organ donation & organ transplants

WAS
NOT
DEAD

Carina Melchior

Carina Melchior , a 19 year old student, suffered severe injuries after crashing her car. Doctors said she would soon be “brain dead” and convinced her family to consent to organ donation. But, as doctors gathered around her bed to prep her for organ donation, she suddenly opened her eyes and moved her legs. Now she is making a full recovery. [more]

WAS
NOT
DEAD

Steven Thorpe

Steven Thorpe , 17 year old Warwickshire youth, was declared “brain dead” by four doctors, but his parents did not give up on him, and insisted on another opinion from an independent GP and a neurosurgeon. Steven made an unexpected recovery and left hospital alive seven weeks later. [more]

WAS
NOT
DEAD

Zach Dunlap

Zach Dunlap , a 21 year old Oklahoma man, was “feeling pretty good” four months after he was diagnosed as “brain dead”. Ironically, Zach heard the doctors pronounce him dead, but was unable to do anything about it. A few days later, he revived and spoke to his family. [more]

WAS
NOT
DEAD

Sam Schmid

Sam Schmid , a 21 year old Arizona college student, was critically wounded in a five-car accident. Surgeons thought he had no hope of recovery and broached organ donation with his family. Sam was poised to ‘donate’ his vital organs, when he suddenly emerged from a coma. He has since had rehabilitation and walks with the aid of a walker. [more]

WAS
NOT
DEAD

Val Thomas

Val Thomas , 59 year old West Virginia woman, came back to life, after being clinically “brain dead” for 17 hours. Attempts to revive her after a heart attack had failed, and doctors diagnosed her as “brain dead”. Later “she moved her arm, coughed and asked for her son.” ... she was alive. [more]

WAS
NOT
DEAD

Gloria Cruz

Gloria Cruz , 56 year old Northern Territory woman, was declared “brain dead” and expected to ‘die’ within 48 hours. A doctor, a social worker and a ‘patient advocate’ urged her husband to remove the ventilator and let her ‘die’. But he refused and 3 days later, Gloria revived, awoke from her coma and was getting around hospital in a wheelchair. [more]

WAS
NOT
DEAD

Madeleine Gauron

Madeleine Gauron , a 76 year old Quebec woman, was diagnosed by medical staff as “brain dead”, with no hope of recovery. Doctors asked if the family would agree to organ donation, but the family asked for more medical tests. The next day, astonishingly, she awakened and sat up in bed and ate yogurt. [more]

WAS
NOT
DEAD

Rae Kupferschmidt

Rae Kupferschmidt , 65 year old Minnesota woman, suffered a massive cerebral haemorrhage and doctors diagnosed her as “brain dead”. She was taken home to die and her family began making funeral arrangements. When Rae spontaneously sucked an ice cube offered by her daughter, she was found to be alive. She later walked. [more]

WAS
NOT
DEAD

Suzanne Chin

Suzanne Chin suffered cardiac arrest and collapsed into unconsciousness. Taken to hospital, she remained in a coma and the head of ICU, two neurologists & a cardiologist said she was brain-dead with no hope of recovery. But her husband refused to turn of her life support. 3 days later, Suzanne revived & is now well & very much ALIVE. [more]

An extract

Stripped for Parts

By Jennifer Kahn

Organ transplants are a brutal business. Just ask the donors.
Our reporter spends a dark night with the living dead.

None of this is what I expected from an organ transplant. … In all my preliminary research on transplants, the dead man was rarely mentioned. Even doctors I spoke with avoided the subject, and popular accounts I came across ducked the matter of provenance altogether. In the movies, for instance, surgeons tended to say it would take time to “find” a heart - as though one had been hidden behind a tree or misplaced along with the car keys. Insofar as corpses came up, it was only in anxious reference to the would-be recipient whose time was running out.
“…Even brain-dead bodies require sedation, since spinal reflexes can make a corpse “buck” in surgery”
In the dead man's room, a different calculus is unfolding. Here the organ is the patient, and the patient a mere container, the safest place to store body parts until surgeons are ready to use them. … Even an ailing cadaver is a better container than a cooler.
…the only situation that really lends itself to harvest is brain death, which means finding an otherwise healthy patient whose brain activity has ceased but whose heart continues to beat - right up until the moment it's taken out. In short, victims of stroke or severe head injury.
One anesthesiologist confesses that his peers don't like to work on cadaveric organ recoveries. (Even brain-dead bodies require sedation, since spinal reflexes can make a corpse “buck” in surgery.) “You spend all this time monitoring the heartbeat, the blood pressure,” the anesthesiologist explains. “To just turn everything off when you're done and walk out. It's bizarre.”
…the heart will go to Cryolife, a biosupply company that irradiates and freeze-dries the valves, then packages them for sale to hospitals in screw-top jars.

(Extract from “Stripped for Parts”, Jennifer Kahn, Wired, Issue 11.03, March 2003. Viewed Dec 18, 2010 at: http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/11.03/parts.html )