Friday, 23 December 2011

Just in time

A young man in an 'irreversible coma' woke just in time.  That is, just before the doctors were about to remove his vital organs for transplant, thus killing him.  Lifesite News carries the story.

When the death penalty was abolished in this country, it was done because there was a political consensus that the risk of killing an innocent person, small though it was, was not a risk that a civilised country ought to take.  This young man was 'thought to be' 'brain dead.'

Of course he was not dead: his heart was beating, his body was functioning at some level.  But that is necessary for vital organ donation: truly dead donors are of no value, as the vital organs deterioriate too quickly once the circulation of blood has stopped. (See previous posts tagged Organ donation for a fuller discussion and links...)

It is that necessity for what are called 'heart-beating donors' which has led to the redefinition of death so that vital organs may be taken from patients who (until recently) any doctor would have certified as still alive.

This case, along with many others, proves how costly that utilitarian re-definition is in reality.

We have come a long way since then - but I would not call it progress.

H/t Blondpidge on Twitter


No comments: