Daily Archives: October 25, 2008

Rattling the bones – or the potential transplant organs at least…

Have you noticed how rattled the Live Organ Transplant Industry is becoming over the latest questioning of their practices? I say “live organ” because a dead organ is good to no one. Whether the patient to whom those organs belong is dead or not is the matter under discussion…

On Thursday, Dr Nick Tonti-Filippini (of our local John Paul II Institute for Marriage and the Family fame) had an op-ed piece in The Age “Why I have refused a renal transplant for 20 years”. He began this column by saying:

THE claims made by Associate Professor James Tibballs about brain death — reported in The Age this week — are well founded and are not a threat to organ donation as some have claimed.

Yet the Industry is running scared (is that how you spell “scared”? Or is it “scarred”? Perhaps both might be appropriate in this context…). In today’s edition of The Age, there is a letter from the members of ANZICS. No, not the boys from Gallipoli, but the Australian & New Zealand Intensive Care Society. The letter is headed “Brain Death Facts”. Here is a part of it:

WE WRITE to correct misinformation and vigorously disagree with Nicholas Tonti-Filippini (Comment & Debate, 23/10).

First, the Australian & New Zealand Intensive Care Society (ANZICS) has clearly stated that when X-rays have shown a devastating brain injury, brain death can be determined by clinical testing with 100% accuracy. ANZICS also provides clarity on those circumstances when brain blood flow imaging is required to diagnose brain death.

Second, the determination of death by clinical testing of brain function does comply with Australian law.

…The public can have full confidence in the determination of brain death. ANZICS believes that it is unethical for others to raise doubt in the public mind regarding the certainty of the determination of death.

So, there you have it. Once again we have the assurance: You know you are dead when the law says you are dead.

Dr Tonti-Filippini, in his article, suggested that:

Death of the brain stem alone is not death. Diagnosis of death requires evidence of the damage to the other parts of the brain such that all function of the brain is destroyed. I advise families to ask for an image showing loss of blood supply to the brain. They can then be confident that death has occurred.

The ANZICS boys respond:

Fifth, it would be unethical and unnecessary to submit every patient to a brain blood flow scan simply to show the patient’s family a picture.

Why? Because it would use up precious time when we need to get access to those living organs.

Now will everyone just please shut up about people not being dead when we start chopping them up and just let us get on with the job? Afterall, we ARE the doctors. Not you.


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