Melbourne Doctor: Most Donors Still Alive when Organs are Removed

By Kathleen GilbertMELBOURNE, Australia, October 21, 2008 ( - A prominent Melbourne doctor has written that, contrary to popular belief, most organ donations take place before the donor is actually dead. He argues that the vague criterion of “brain death” has…

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This is why I will not donate parts of my body
I realize that there are different medical opinons as to how to determine someone has died, and not being a doctor perhaps my doubt is misplaced. At the same time, I am not willing to take a chance that I am right and that my organs would be removed without an anesthetic while I am still alive.
Of course if you think I am an alarmist, the decision about donating your organs is up to you.

Utter bunk. The above-linked website is capitalizing on a handful of irregular cases while ignoring tens of thousands of regular ones. Brain death is not founded upon vague criteria, but rather specific biological bases. Irregular cases come about when someone takes a shortcut; however, due to the litigious nature of society (at least American society, I can’t answer about Australian) these criteria are adhered to rigorously to avoid either a malpractice suit or the loss of malpractice insurance.

Brain death is diagnosed by two independent physicians using physiological means (such as testing certain reflexes) as well as diagnostic (such as repeated EEGs). It’s a step-by-step, scientifically verified, reliable and repeatable process.

So yes, your doubt is misplaced.

…and then a month later you wake up, are removed from the vent, and walk out of the hospital a week later just fine. Happens fairly regularly.

Most patients I have seen being prepped for organ harvesting had to have a central line placed so the MD’s could administer drugs to control their basic physiologic functions b/c the brain couldn’t regulate it anymore.

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