If you are an organ donor, you might do well to read the following cases of individuals who were declared dead, but were in fact alive and kicking; which means that people should not rely on the opinion of physicians who are sometimes eager to harvest the organs of someone who they believe is probably dead.
Case 1: Dexter Howard, the County Coroner for Lexington, a community North of Jackson, was called to the home of Walter Williams, a 78 years old man whose relatives believed was dead. The coroner could detect no pulse and pronounced him dead at 9:00 PM. The next morning, as the caretakers at the funeral home were ready to embalm him, they noticed that the supposedly dead man was kicking inside the body bag. He was taken to the hospital and discovered that his pacemaker had stopped working. This farmer is happy to be alive.
Case 2: Four physicians determined that Steven Thorpe was brain dead and were eager to harvest the 17-year-old young man’s organs for transplantation, but his parents refused to believe their expert opinion. They requested the opinion of another physician who detected a flicker of brain activity in the head of the young man. The result was that two weeks later the boy woke up from his comatose state, and here is his own testimony:
‘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”.
He is convinced that, had not his parents intervened, his physician would have turned the life support machine off without any delay.
Case 3: Caroline Burns opened her eyes and was shocked to find herself on the operating table surrounded by several physicians ready to remove her vital organs for transplantation. This took place at “St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center in Syracuse, N.Y., in 2009.”
“According to the report, doctors had inaccurately diagnosed Burns with irreversible brain damage and ignored nurses who’d noticed signs that Burns was improving: She curled her toes when touched, flared her nostrils and moved her mouth and tongue. She was also breathing on her own even though she was on a respirator.”
The patient recovered from the ordeal, in spite of the opinion of her physician and her family relatives who had requested she be taken off the life support machine. Nevertheless, Caroline Burns eventually committed suicide.
There are many similar documented cases in the literature and available for review online. If you are on the organ donor’s list, you would be wise to alert your relatives to request a second opinion from a physician you can trust in the event you find yourself in a comatose state and declared to be brain dead by a doctor.