Safe Havens for Patients at Risk of Imposed Death
By Judie Brown
For quite some time experts in the field of treating those with conditions that some describe as brain death have grappled with the accuracy of that diagnosis. Bill Beckman recently wrote of cases involving living children with severe injuries who were falsely diagnosed as brain dead. Jahi McMath, for example, is alive today, two years after she was wrongly diagnosed and called a “corpse” by her caregivers!
Israel Stinson, another child who was diagnosed as “brain dead,” was airlifted out of the hospital that wanted to end his life and transferred to a hospital in a different country where he was treated for a time. But then, sadly, he was brought back to the United States and died “because of the heartless action by a hospital in the midst of an appeal, according to his loved ones and his lawyers.”
The reason the hospital acted against the wishes of Israel’s parents is not important. What is important is that the state of California has a “brain death law” that enabled this horrific decision by the hospital to kill this baby. And the killing is legal!
In yet another recent case, we learned of seven-year-old Allen Calloway who “may be still alive in St. Vincent’s Hospital in Billings thanks to a court order making his mother, Tasha, his guardian and giving her the power to veto a test the hospital sought to determine whether he was ‘brain dead.’”
The common thread in these cases—and there are many more—is that, according to expert Paul Byrne, MD, there is no such thing as “brain death.” He articulates that “brain death” is actually a “pretend death” diagnosis used by those who wish to advance the acquisition of organs from patients who are not dead, but whom doctors or caregivers feel will die anyway!
This is a macabre way of looking at the human person, but medicine has travelled down a path now for more than 40 years that has treated human beings—beginning with the preborn baby—as something less than human and as fair game for the killing machines of the culture of death. Bradley Mattes confirms this in his article “Hospitals Are Quick to Declare Patients Brain Dead to Harvest Their Organs. Here’s Why” and explains that there are big bucks to be made in the organ donation industry.
Bobby Schindler of the Terri Schiavo Life and Hope Foundation writes:
It has become apparent that brain death diagnoses are being made so quickly that in many cases, the patient is given no opportunity to prove the doctors wrong. Often times the diagnosis is made within hours of their loved one being admitted to the hospital. All in what seems to be an effort to harvest the patient’s organs. If families object, and want to try different treatment options, the hospital will either override the family, or will place enormous pressure on them to rapidly accept the hospital’s decision.
This presents a serious challenge to the pro-life community, yet at the same time it offers us immense opportunities for doing good. One such option is the identification of “safe haven” hospitals and other care facilities where families of patients misdiagnosed with brain death or who are in danger of imposed death for any reason can be cared for in a loving environment grounded in one of the founding principles of the medical profession: “Do no harm!”
American Life League has joined Pro-Life Healthcare Alliance in working to identify where such safe haven facilities are located. We are searching for locations where “quality of life” judgments are replaced with love and respect for the dignity of the human person.
Patients like Jahi, Israel, Allen, and countless others deserve our diligence in the quest to restore moral sanity to the care of the vulnerable.
For that to be effective, we need your help.
We must stand in the gap and do all we can to find and promote safe havens for such patients. If you are aware of such a place, please let me know.
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