Thursday, August 9, 2012

UK survey of attitudes towards organ donation

The Guardian reported recently that the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK is considering its biggest shakeup of the ethical, legal and professional rules governing transplants, floating ideas to prolong the lives of people who have no chance of surviving in order to harvest their organs, and to make people opt out rather than in to the donor register.

The options are included in a survey of medical, scientific and public opinion to be launched this week to test the boundaries of what might be acceptable, as a precursor to significant reforms.

The survey, on the NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) website from Saturday with a deadline of 21 September, will also suggest:

• Giving priority for transplants to the 19.1 million registered donors in the UK.

• Deploying new technologies to preserve organs beyond the current method of packing them on ice.

• New financial rewards for intensive care units for every organ they provide. Hospitals currently receive about £2,000 per organ to cover their costs, which the NHSBT compares with the €7,000 (£5,500) paid in Croatia.

• Presuming consent unless people have actively opted out.

The NHSBT stressed that neither it nor the four health departments in the UK endorsed such ideas at present, but the results would inform future strategy on increasing transplants and organ donations.
The survey asks whether there should be a review of present professional practices of withdrawing treatment early so that patients stay alive longer. Most contentiously, it floats a rethink of elective ventilation of gravely ill patients whose deaths are inevitable, such as those who have suffered a catastrophic head or brain injury or stroke, in order to get more donated organs after brainstem death. The law on this issue has not been tested in UK courts.

Organ harvesting has become a very controversial topic with reports that organs can be - and are being - harvested from the bodies of patients who cannot be convincingly termed 'dead'. reported earlier this year on a booklet on the issue published by Dr. Paul Byrne who has been warning all who are prepared to listen about the alarming facts and dangers of the organ transplant industry.  The booklet was released by Dr. Byrne at an International Conference for Life in Rome last February According to the report Dr. Byrne and other distinguished speakers, including Cardinal Raymond Burke, addressed serious concerns regarding so-called “brain death”, the apnea test and organ transplantation. Dr. Bryne also introduced the new 29-page booklet produced by his Life Guardian Foundation containing crucial information to assist the public in making informed decisions about organ donation.

The new Life Guardian booklet is divided into six main sections:

    Facts About Being an Organ Donor - What you don’t know can kill you
    Do Your Organs Belong to the Government?
    Are You Thinking About Organ Transplantation? Making an Informed Decision
    Manipulation of Beginning and End of Human Life
    Catholic Teaching on Death and Organ Transplantation

The last part of the booklet contains tear-out forms, with instructions, intended to protect its readers from premature declarations of death that can result in imposed death, followed by subsequent unethical removal of their organs.

Dr. Byrne believes such forms are necessary due to increasingly hurried and flawed death declarations and the very aggressive tactics of the organ transplant industry.

The first form, a basic, Power of Attorney for Health Care, is followed by three complimentary, additional forms:

    Directions to Protect and Preserve Life for Power of Attorney for Health Care
    Directions to Protect and Protect and Preserve Life and Health Care
    Representative Serving as an Agent for Dependent Person who is a Minor or
    Mentally incapacitated person
    Directions to Protect and Preserve Life to be carried at all times in case of sudden
    accident or serious illness

Each of he last three forms includes the strict, bolded direction, “Do not hasten death. Do not shorten death. Do not do an apnea test. Do not take any organ for transplantation or any other purpose.”

The reference to the apnea test reflects grave concerns by Dr. Bryne and other medical professionals that this deadly procedure frequently hastens the death of those being “tested,” some of whom might yet recover, since they are deprived of ventilation for the dangerously long period of time set to determine if they can breathe on their own.

Byrne writes, “Knowing full well how critical the ventilator is, to withdraw it when it is needed most is absurd! Yet, it is planned for the patient to be taken off for up to 10 minutes - the patient can only get worse! This test is sometimes lethal. Make sure to instruct all medical staff: “Do not do an Apnea test!” (Not to be confused with sleep apnoea teste)

The complete LifesiteNews,com article which includes a video of Dr. Byrne can be accessed on the following link Critical Organ Donation Warnings