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When Are You Dead?

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the as-soon-as-the-organleggers-spot-you dept.

Medicine 516

Hugh Pickens writes "Dick Teresi writes in the WSJ that becoming an organ donor seems like a noble act, but what doctors won't tell you is that checking yourself off as an organ donor when you renew your driver's license means you are giving up your right to informed consent, and that you may suffer for it, especially if you happen to become a victim of head trauma. Even though they comprise only 1% of deaths, victims of head trauma are the most likely organ donors. Patients who can be ruled brain dead usually have good organs, while organs from people who die from heart failure, circulation, or breathing deteriorate quickly. But here's the weird part. In at least two studies before the 1981 Uniform Determination of Death Act, some 'brain-dead' patients were found to be emitting brain waves, and at least one doctor has reported a case in which a patient with severe head trauma began breathing spontaneously after being declared brain dead. Organ transplantation — from procurement of organs to transplant to the first year of postoperative care — is a $20 billion per year business, with average recipients charged $750,000 for a transplant. At an average of 3.3 donated organs per donor, that is more than $2 million per body. 'In order to be dead enough to bury but alive enough to be a donor, you must be irreversibly brain dead. If it's reversible, you're no longer dead; you're a patient,' writes David Crippen, M.D. 'And once you start messing around with this definition, you're on a slippery slope, and the question then becomes: How dead do you want patients to be before you start taking their organs?'"

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516 comments

I have an organ donor card... (5, Interesting)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320311)

... and I'm surprised that anyone is surprised by any of this. Frankly... If I'm braindead, or even slightly above braindead so that I can breathe myself, just kill me, mm'kay? There is no way in hell that I'll ever be "me" again. The "me" is dead, and that zombie-corpse-thing is not "me" anymore. Help others, save the financial cost and emotional burden to my family (even though I live in Europe, I expect the financial cost to be low... )... Take them, help someone. I am dead if my neocortex is not functioning correctly anymore.

Re:I have an organ donor card... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39320327)

There's a section in the article that states the Beating Heart Cadaver (BHC) still feels and responds to pain, yet no anesthetic is administered because the BHC is not considered to be a person anymore. I am canceling my organ donor card.

Re:I have an organ donor card... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39320369)

And headless chickens still run around. What's your point? If your brain is dead, reflexive reactions to pain from your spinal cord certainly aren't enough to warrant anesthetics.

Lies. (1)

ElementOfDestruction (2024308) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320371)

The article specifically states that the doctors feel it is unlikely the body feels pain, but two forms of light anesthetic are still used.

Re:Lies. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39320529)

No it says A doctor does so, not ALL doctors do so.

"He's not QUITE Dead.." (4, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320649)

"He's feeling much better."

Re:I have an organ donor card... (0)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320407)

There is no way in hell that I'll ever be "me" again.

How do you know what treatments will become available tomorrow?

Re:I have an organ donor card... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39320435)

FIne, stick a gun in your mouth. Who knows what treatments will be available tomorrow? Idiot. What do you think is realistically possible anyways?

Re:I have an organ donor card... (4, Insightful)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320475)

I work on a research campus, that helps...

Seriously though; it would be nice to believe that a miracle-cure for massive brain injuries is just around the corner (or in fact, a miracle cure for pretty much anything serious), but realistically you have to weigh your odds, and I don't like them. If I'm that much of a vegetable, I wouldn't want to hang around hoping..

Re:I have an organ donor card... (1)

Ocker3 (1232550) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320719)

Yep, I really need to get a DNR/No Heroic Measures living will or something. I don't want to live as half of myself.

Re:I have an organ donor card... (3, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320843)

Even if the brain could be physically repaired, I doubt there will ever be medical technology capable of restoring a person. We're talking massive head trauma, which more than likely means the cognitive, emotional and memory centers of the brain are destroyed or nearly so. Imagining that at some point you could be stuck in a vat and have your brain regrown would likely mean that you would largely be a whole new person. Maybe in some far off future we'll be able to back up our brains and restore them in case of serious damage, but that's not going to happen any time soon.

Re:I have an organ donor card... (3, Insightful)

orzetto (545509) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320533)

How do you know what treatments will become available tomorrow?

You cannot put back a soul into place once the brain matrix has rotten. The lungs or the heart may be restart, but it is no different than a computer with a fried CPU in which the cooling fans are still spinning. And no, you cannot repair the "CPU", because it would involve rebuilding trillions of neural connections that are unique to each human being and define, directly, who they are. Even in a far, far future in which you could repair these connections you would not know what to do since no one would bother (or afford) to take a backup of their own soul in case of trauma, and in such a sci-fi world rebuilding the body from scratch would probably be easier.

Brain death is irreversible, you don't come back from that. If something comes back, it will be a vegetable, not the original person.

You could just as well cure a T-Rex fossil.

Re:I have an organ donor card... (5, Informative)

russotto (537200) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320593)

Brain death is irreversible, you don't come back from that. If something comes back, it will be a vegetable, not the original person.

If you RTFAd, you'd find out that one person who was certified brain dead and whose organs were about to be harvested DID come back and was not vegetative. You can argue that they weren't really brain dead, but that just moves the argument up a level to how you determine brain death.

Re:I have an organ donor card... (4, Insightful)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320701)

I'm not sure why you're not modded up yet.

The whole article argues that we don't really know when someone is "dead" yet in the cases outlined; just best guesses by doctors.

Would you trust a doctor from 100 years ago today? Maybe we should hedge a bit that we may be killing people for their organs who aren't quite dead yet, and some more research needs to go into when you're officially "braindead".

Re:I have an organ donor card... (1)

rampant mac (561036) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320575)

"How do you know what treatments will become available tomorrow?"

How do you know the Earth won't be consumed by fire tomorrow?

Re:I have an organ donor card... (3, Interesting)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320599)

How do you know what treatments will become available tomorrow?

If I'm braindead today, who cares what becomes available tomorrow? Maybe if a viable way to restart brain impulses after brain death occurs, I'll reconsider having signed my organ donor card. Anything could happen, I suppose, but I'm doubtful that technology will happen in my lifetime. As it is, I have signed it, and I have made a living will which states clearly that if I'm brain dead they're to line up organ transplant recipients and terminate life support. I'd rather give others a chance at life than continue to exist as a vegetable in the hopes that they might, maybe, some day come up with a way to undo that damage.

Re:I have an organ donor card... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39320603)

They can't keep you on life support forever, because they need room for other patients. I recently had to take a family member off of life support due to him being declared brain dead from severe head trauma, but if I hadn't, the hospital would have for exactly that reason.

Re:I have an organ donor card... (5, Insightful)

Sad Loser (625938) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320439)

IAAD and sometimes diagnose brain death - a lot of this academic debate ends up just scaring people or firing up various religious groups who have a problem with donation (but often have less of a problem with receiving donated organs).

It is good to have this debate, but like abortion, this is an area where people who deal with the messy situations that life provides should get to drive the policy, rather than any particularly flavour of god-botherers.

Re:I have an organ donor card... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39320453)

Well, to carry it further, if I'm braindead but still breathing, keep me alive long enough to find new hosts for my organs at least.

Re:I have an organ donor card... (4, Insightful)

Dr. Hellno (1159307) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320471)

I agree completely, but I was a little surprised by the tests we apparently use to determine brain death. I assumed there might be an EEG to check for brain activity, but apparently they give you a wet willy and poke you in the eye, then turn off your air for a little while.
I'm cool with all my parts going into other people once brain death occurs, but I guess I'd just like them to check a little more rigorously to be sure it has occurred.
The article offers something of a solution: don't sign the card, but provide your family with instructions that your organs are to be donated after enough tests have been run to be sure your brain is kaput.

Re:I have an organ donor card... (5, Insightful)

Zakabog (603757) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320501)

Exactly. People always say "Well what if they don't revive you and you could have been saved!" Honestly who cares? At the point of no return (my organs are being removed) I'm dead anyway! I'm not going to be sitting around for years looking back and thinking "Oh man I wish those doctors tried harder to save me" I'll be dead. Then anything they want to do with my body after that (organ donation, filming another Weekend at Bernie's) is completely up to them. I'd prefer to be useful to someone after death and telling me that there's a chance I might not be fully 100% dead before they officially pronounce me dead just because i'm an organ donor isn't going to change that.

Re:I have an organ donor card... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39320585)

I agree - massive head trauma - please - dont try. Maybe when the EXPERIMENTAL miracle cures have been tried (failed many times and been fixed and we KNOW they work) then Ill reconsider - but till then = NO THANKS

Re:I have an organ donor card... (1, Interesting)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320621)

Not necessarily. There are people who seem braindead but they are awake [wikipedia.org] , and some others can wake up [wikipedia.org] from a comatose state. The diagnosis of brain death tends to be inaccurate.

Re:I have an organ donor card... (4, Insightful)

Rhywden (1940872) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320765)

"Locked In Syndrome" is not comparable to braindeath. Also, if you're braindead under the current diagnosis methodology, it's pretty much guaranteed you'll never wake up. Never ever.
You're trying to convince us here that two different states of coma are comparable to braindeath. This is not so. Not to mention, by the way, that you have better odds of winning the lottery than waking up from a coma after you've been in said coma for more than a year.

Re:I have an organ donor card... (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320745)

If I'm braindead, or even slightly above braindead so that I can breathe myself, just kill me, mm'kay?

Of course. If signing myself up as a donator takes lessens my informed consent in the case of massive trauma to my brain, so be it. Please use what you can to help somebody else, because if all I've got left is a few stray brainwaves, I'm really not going to notice if you take my heart and lungs and I really don't want my wife and daughter to spend any time worrying over a human rutabaga.

Now, some may find this a little bit controversial, but having recently driven through a few states in the Deep South, I'm pretty sure we can set up a truck in the parking lot of any Wal-Mart and come away with thousands of serviceable parts without worrying about there being any measurable brain activity.

No Worries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39320775)

ObamaCare will take care of that little problem for you.

Re:I have an organ donor card... (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320813)

No fucking kidding. At very best if I'm in such a state, my body will keep on going for a while (maybe years), but everything that makes me me; my personality and memories, is likely gone or sufficiently devastated as to be irrecoverable. The very least I can do at that point is give my organs so someone else can live.

I'm not dead yet. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39320317)

Not sure when I'll be dead, but I know I'm getting better and that I feel happy.

All the way. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39320319)

I think all the way dead is probably the best kind of dead...

THe Real Quesion is... (5, Funny)

chill (34294) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320329)

The real question is how fast will this thread deteriorate into a Monty Python quote fest?

Re:THe Real Quesion is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39320347)

I don't want to go in the cart!

Re:THe Real Quesion is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39320395)

Or Soylent Green, recycling the rest. Leftovers again?

The brain dead are dysfunctional. Are the homeless dysfunctional?
There go the scoops.

Re:THe Real Quesion is... (4, Funny)

TheABomb (180342) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320403)

Sooner than Princess Bride, apparently. I weep for you people.

Re:THe Real Quesion is... (2)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320489)

Sooner than Princess Bride, apparently. I weep for you people.

The Princess Bride does have some rather on-subject quotes, especially "he's only MOSTLY dead!" But the article doesn't mention the doctors digging around in one's pockets, looking for change.

Re:THe Real Quesion is... (2)

Salgak1 (20136) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320673)

You obviously haven't looked into the thriving business of medical debt recovery. After they go through your pockets, they start trying to get into the pockets of surviving relatives...

Re:THe Real Quesion is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39320457)

Bring out ya Monty Python quotes!

Re:THe Real Quesion is... (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320535)

No, no! He's not dead, he's, he's restin'!

Re:THe Real Quesion is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39320549)

Or Simpsons.

"He was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. He was then taken to a better hospital where his condition was upgraded to 'alive.' "

Re:THe Real Quesion is... (5, Interesting)

iniquitous (122242) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320609)

Two days after I proposed to my wife, she was t-boned on a major street. She broke both clavicles, cracked a couple ribs, and fractured her sacrum. Unconscious, she was airlifted to the hospital.

When she came to, her first mumbled words were, "Not dead yet!"

P.S. She recovered completely.

Re:THe Real Quesion is... (1)

chill (34294) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320755)

A keeper!

Congrats!

When no longer alive (2, Insightful)

markdavis (642305) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320333)

>"When Are You Dead?"

Easy- when you can no longer be made to be alive anymore :)

(Sounds silly, but it is kinda valid- can't restart heart, and/or can't restart breathing, and/or can't ever recover brain function/consciousness). Of course, in reality, it can be a bit more difficult to define. Personally, I think it is all about the brain. If the brain is irreversibly damaged to the point there will never be consciousness, I don't care how functional the rest of the body is, that person is DEAD.

Whack 'em! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39320337)

I say whack 'em for good measure. A few good whacks and they're dead for sure!

I think I'll go for a walk. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39320345)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grbSQ6O6kbs [youtube.com]

Interesting clip from a documentary on this subject.

I feel fine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39320349)

[Cue Monty Python Music]

The Dead Collector: Bring out yer dead.
[a man puts a body on the cart]
Large Man with Dead Body: Here's one.
The Dead Collector: That'll be ninepence.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I'm not dead.
The Dead Collector: What?
Large Man with Dead Body: Nothing. There's your ninepence.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I'm not dead.
The Dead Collector: 'Ere, he says he's not dead.
Large Man with Dead Body: Yes he is.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I'm not.
The Dead Collector: He isn't.
Large Man with Dead Body: Well, he will be soon, he's very ill.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I'm getting better.
Large Man with Dead Body: No you're not, you'll be stone dead in a moment.
The Dead Collector: Well, I can't take him like that. It's against regulations.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I don't want to go on the cart.
Large Man with Dead Body: Oh, don't be such a baby.
The Dead Collector: I can't take him.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I feel fine....

(I feel happy. I feel happy. !!!)

Re:I feel fine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39320397)

Wow. we posted at exactly the same time. What are the chances of two ACs commenting on a somewhat related story with the exact same classic movie reference at the exact same time? It's got to be like, 1 in 10 or something.

My death will not be compromised! (5, Informative)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320353)

"Even though they compromise only 1% of deaths [...]"

Comprise. The word is 'comprise'.

Re:My death will not be compromised! (1)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320705)

Grammer gnazi with an e

Interesting (4, Insightful)

dontPanik (1296779) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320355)

Interesting article, but I'm going to categorize it under scare-mongering. I'll accept the next to nothing possibility of being still alive while they take my organs, if that means saving other's lives.

The real question is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39320357)

how rich is the guy who wants your organs?

Yessss! (3, Insightful)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320365)

Yessss! When my brain no longer works, I want to be asked if it is broken enough to consider me dead! Or, better, have my stupid relatives decide that!

Out of all the alternatives, I would rather rely on a doctor's decision.

2 million for who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39320375)

So, if it's 2 million per body, do my family see any of that?

Re:2 million for who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39320437)

If they did you'd already be dead!

It's a fair question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39320377)

There are some people walking around today who were declared brain-dead at one point... ...and not just the zombies.

consider me dead (1)

blindbat (189141) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320385)

If I end up with *severe head trauma* please DO NOT resuscitate.

Take my organs, but how 'bout some anesthetic? (2)

theodp (442580) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320387)

From the article: "Even some of the sharpest critics of the brain-death criteria argue that there is no possibility that donors will be in pain during the harvesting of their organs...But BHCs[beating-heart cadavers]-who don't receive anesthetics during an organ harvest operation-react to the scalpel like inadequately anesthetized live patients, exhibiting high blood pressure and sometimes soaring heart rates. Doctors say these are simply reflexes." OK, but didn't we once say something similar about operating on babies without anesthesia [naturalnews.com] ?

Re:Take my organs, but how 'bout some anesthetic? (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320607)

It does seem kind of dumb. If someone is paying $750k for an organ, why can't they pay $751 so the patient can get the anesthetic? Given the number of people who appear to be turned off by the idea of going without it it might be worth it. It also reduces the chance that the patient would sit up during the procedure and demand their liver back.

Re:Take my organs, but how 'bout some anesthetic? (3, Interesting)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320695)

It does seem kind of dumb. If someone is paying $750k for an organ, why can't they pay $751 so the patient can get the anesthetic?

Seems more likely that there are medical reasons rather than cost reasons, perhaps wanting the harvested bits to be as free from anything that might cause complications in their next home as possible.

Re:Take my organs, but how 'bout some anesthetic? (1)

claar (126368) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320651)

While I was able to find actual sources for your operating on babies claim, it's hard to trust an article that also claims "most cancers are easily treated with low-cost herbs and nutritional therapies"..

Scary (3, Informative)

St.Creed (853824) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320401)

At least one of the cases described in the linked article should be grounds for legal action, at the very least dismissal of these surgeons from their jobs. Case #2 seems a collection of mistakes and errors: was permission granted by or even asked from the family? Dismissing objections of one of the teammembers? Designated target dies before even receiving liver and the donor dies as well? I mean... this sounds like a case for a law school, not for medical school.

However... most donations are rigged with very careful procedures precisely because of all the legal pitfalls. Given the good it does to help with the mourning process of the family of the donor, and the good it does on the other side, there is a powerful drive to make sure we improve this procedure.

And also: more research on stem cells is desperately needed.

Re:Scary (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39320511)

this sounds like a case for a law school, not for medical school.

Exactly. Get the donors from law school.

Pure scare-mongering (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39320419)

This is completely nonsense. No doctor goes around hoping to declare patients braindead so that we can take your organs. At least in my state, only a board-certified neurologist can even make the determination of brain death. The exam for braindeath may seem "simple" but it test the most basic neurological reflexes, and you can only be declared brain dead if those reflexes are not present.

And as for "Doctors don't have to tell you or your relatives what they will do to your body during an organ harvest "
It's called an organ harvest. I think most people realize that they're going to have to do surgery to get the organs out...

No Organ Doner Here (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39320425)

My wife is a physician and she is not an organ donor and when we got married she made me opt out of organ donation.

She did a rotation in one of the largest and most respected shock-trauma units in the country (University of Maryland) as part of her residency and says that as soon as they wheel somebody in with head injury trauma the team goes to work to save them but at the same time one member of the team starts typing the organs for possible transplant.

She says she won't sign the card because she doesn't want somebody trying to "save" her when there are hundreds of thousands of dollars involved if it goes the other way.

Re:No Organ Doner Here (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39320537)

She says she won't sign the card because she doesn't want somebody trying to "save" her when there are hundreds of thousands of dollars involved if it goes the other way.

Shocking. This makes me glad to live in europe

Re:No Organ Doner There (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39320567)

.. she [the doctor] doesn't want somebody trying to "save" her when there are hundreds of thousands of dollars involved if it goes the other way.

I see, but she doesn't mind working on the other side of the equation even though the profit motive steers her choices regarding the nature the treatment she might prescribe? Either profit belongs in "the system" or it doesn't. There is no in between.

Re:No Organ Doner There (3, Interesting)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320713)

I'm choosing to read it as the emerge room team spending a lot more money on a potential donor, than they would on someone who isn't. In the case of someone with a major head injury, tissue typing is pragmatic: there's a huge demand for organs, and the chances of a match succeeding are much higher when they're still fresh. You can bet that they're also networking with transport teams, and even just preparing for a potential trip from donor to recipient is expensive. All of that is wasted in the event of a successful resuscitation.

Meanwhile, if you don't have a card, costs are limited to the effort of bringing you back. In the event of the worst happening, they can keep you on life support and ask your next of kin about harvesting. Sucks for the people on waiting lists, but it's not like they aren't already cooling their heels.

Re:No Organ Doner Here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39320625)

This is why I'm not an organ donor. It's not because I'm misanthropic, but when there's that much money involved in anything, I don't want to be a part of it. I don't think it's difficult to imagine a scenario under which your organ donor status is used against you - nobody says that these doctors have to be honest about whether or not you're actually braid-dead. Being taken to a hospital is a frightening enough experience with all the bureaucratic nonsense that goes on; I don't want to worry about someone "legally" harvesting my organs as well.

Re:No Organ Doner Here (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39320721)

Your wife is a physician and doesn't realize that organ harvesting and transplanting is a very time sensitive procedure? Typing the organs right away, even before death is declared, saves a bunch of precious time that if wasted could lead to a non-viable organ in the end. Just preparing for possible contingencies is not nefarious, it's logical. In the end, if the patient recovers, then hooray for the patient! We move on to the next possible organ donor.

The system is not evil, doctors are not ghouls just waiting for the next big organ score. And personally, I feel that if you are morally opposed to organ donation, you should be morally opposed to organ reception; that is to say, feel free to opt out of the system, but your name should be on the bottom of the UNOS list if the time comes you ever need the help of said ghoulish transplant doctors.

Re:No Organ Doner Here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39320849)

Sounds kinda selfish to me. If there's even a 10% chance there's a mistake and they take your organs even though you'd would've recovered, and it typically saves 2 lives, humanity has come out ahead.

Answer (5, Funny)

bXTr (123510) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320429)

When you stop pounding at the inside of your coffin.

Re:Answer (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320499)

haha, wish I had mod points.

Read: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39320433)

Can zombies be used as organ donors against their will?

Some might argue (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39320455)

that Slashdot passed that threshold some time ago.

Sounds good (2)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320463)

That sounds like pretty good news to me because the worst thing I can imagine is being held alive artificially in a coma.

So yes, please don't hesitate to let me die after a severe head trauma and give my organs to others. Thanks!

How dead do you want patients to be? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39320477)

Dead enough not to sue.

Not intended as humor: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39320479)

If I'm so close to dead that doctors have to debate about whether I'm dead or alive, I'd just as soon one of them ensures I am completely and permanently dead. Again, you can make all the Monty Python jokes you want, but this is not humor. I mean it.

Do not resuscitate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39320503)

Is tattooed on my chest

Dr. Crippen, eh? (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320505)

Riiiight.... Seems legit to me

It's free (1)

Eggbloke (1698408) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320513)

>$20 billion per year business, with average recipients charged $750,000 for a transplant
No? It's free, at least while the NHS still exists. I'm happy to give my organs whether I'm brain dead or really dead. I'm not that important and saving a life is one of the most amazing things I can think of to do in my life.

Re:It's free (1)

Pseudonym (62607) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320795)

I find the implication that some group of people are getting rich off organ transplants bizarre. Like the CEO of Organs R Us is waiting around for the next motorbike accident because yacht wax and monocle polish doesn't pay for itself.

Like space travel, organ transplantation is routine, but it's also still quite hard. Apart from the US (where the price of anything medical is artificially inflated by the health insurance cartel), nobody is getting rich off organ transplants.

Eh, don't keep me around (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39320561)

I have a cousin who years ago was in a massive car accident and thrown through the windshield. Full coma and braindead. His family kept hope for a while and then had the plug pulled. Shockingly he kept breathing which seemed to give everyone hope. Here we are 15 years later and he is just as much brain dead as he was then but his direct family has been absoluetly through the ringer and his parents are absoutely broke. Looking back on what that has done to his family and what his quality of life is, I would absolutely say go ahead with the donation and make someone else's life better.

To the government... (1)

trum4n (982031) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320563)

... you're legally dead the instant you stop paying taxes.

Slippery Slope? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39320573)

Do people really still think slippery slopes are legitimate criticisms?

donors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39320583)

Heck go to any session of congress and you will find plenty of brain dead specimens. Of course most of their livers are probably not much good for anything...you know just like the congressmen themselves.

*not* just when you use Windows (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39320591)

Windows users have been resuscitated in the past, so don't bury them until no evidence of a pulse has been verified by a medical professional.

who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39320595)

if i'm that f*ed up, i don't want to wake up anyway... cripes, i could come back like that Libtard Giffords

I want my CUT! (5, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320611)

Okay, read that in whatever punny way you like but after seeing the prices organ donors' organs fetch, I want to be an organ donor but I want to be paid for it NOW.

The only one who doesn't benefit is the donor!! How wrong is that?! If I am going to be a donor and the medical industry is going to benefit from it, then they need to share that benefit with me. Sure. Put me on a health plan and require me to live within certain healthy standards. I don't drink that much anyway. I don't do drugs. I don't smoke. I don't run around having casual sex either... (not my choice really... I think I would if I could.) I'm a pretty healthy candidate all in all.

I know by my asking for this I'm setting myself up for one of the opening scenes from Monty Python, but I'm certainly not going to volunteer myself while other profit from it.

What is the value of a human life? (1)

SlithyMagister (822218) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320619)

That is the question underlying the entire discussion.
I have a so-called "living will" that sets standards for when I should not be resuscitated.
I don't really care if a miracle cure comes along later.
When I'm done with my body, I'm happy that someone else can get some use out of whatever parts remain usable.

"Value of a human life" is more than just a "life or death" question. The quality of life is of concern in this issue as well.

Well.. (1)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320663)

I want to be able to (1) be an organ donor (2) who the hospital doesn't know is an organ donor until AFTER they decide they can't save me, and even then maybe it's another hospital that knows instead, and (3) only let my organs go to people who aren't assholes. Well, not the wrong kind of assholes, anyway. They can be quite rude, but they can't be mean.

Informed Consent? (1)

willaien (2494962) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320665)

Exactly how can you have informed consent when you're brain dead?

Sounds like they're complaining that brain dead is brain dead.

Kill this bullshit story, please (2, Insightful)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320685)

Not only does the summary have absolutely nothing to do with "news for nerds," but it reveals an agenda that is probably (if you scratch it deeply enough) based on religious asshattery rather than sound medical, scientific, or ethical principles.

Case in in point: But here's the weird part. In at least two studies before the 1981 Uniform Determination of Death Act, some 'brain-dead' patients were found to be emitting brain waves, and at least one doctor has reported a case in which a patient with severe head trauma began breathing spontaneously after being declared brain dead.

You know who else emits brain waves and breathes spontaneously? Pretty much every life form in kingdom Animalia.

Why did the submitter not choose to reveal his/her actual agenda, rather than duping an editor into publishing this stupidity? Organ donation saves lives... real lives, lives which are distinguished by characteristics beyond the ability to inhale oxygen and exhale CO2.

Wrong Checkbox (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39320687)

If on the DMV form you have an exclude checkbox for organ donation, 98% of population will donate their organs by default. So much for human psychology... as a society we are at a stage where we need make some conscious choices if supply is low we need to understand all possible root cause and try to fix them.

Who the hell... (0)

sparky81 (1309369) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320709)

...thought this was anything other than bullshit? How did this make the frontpage?

Re:Who the hell... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39320783)

...thought this was anything other than bullshit?

How did this make the frontpage?

...thought this was anything other than bullshit?

How did this make the frontpage?

Go fuck yourself

Homosexual Male organ/tissue donation (1)

lemur3 (997863) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320739)

At least in the USA.. It doesnt seem to matter how dead you are if you were a sexually active homosexual male... you cannot donate your "High Risk" tissues.

Luckily! There are some hospitals that will accept "High Risk" organs from male homosexuals! hooray!!

but.. where do I put my orientation? on my drivers license? Do I have to tell my family? They didnt ask me at the DMV!! How can I keep my "High Risk" organs away from the unwitting public?!

Inquiring minds want to know.

Never trusted (1)

jroysdon (201893) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320747)

I never trusted that a doctor would make the right call.

Before I was married, I kept a donor card with my ID which said, "Ask my mom," and listed her number.
Once I got married, I updated my donor card to say, "Ask my wife" and listed her number (unless we're both unable to ask, in which case we both have our own mother's listed).

Both know my wishes, and both will see that they are carried out.

Never!! (5, Funny)

Indigo (2453) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320759)

They can have my organs when they pry them from my cold, dead... oh wait.

When are you dead? (4, Funny)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320787)

DUH! When Netcraft confirms it.

when you can no longer post on /. (1)

ThorGod (456163) | more than 2 years ago | (#39320789)

You're dead, obviously.

Information-theoretic death (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39320831)

Your are only truly dead when all the information stored in your brain is destroyed.

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