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From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: - A Startling Statistic
Date: 7 Feb 2000 23:09:47 GMT

In <87n3e9$o7j$> "Bennett" <>
>Elizabeth LaBozetta wrote in message ...
>>Bennett <> wrote in message
>>> This is why brain death cannot, by definition, be diagnosed if any
>>> such drugs have been administered.  Since this is the case, and the
>>> protocol (whatever it was) wasn't used, your fears seem groundless.
>>> As for anaesthetic...hmmm, I think you're missing the point.  If they
>>> could feel, they wouldn't be in a position to donate organs ;-)
>>People in comas and in chronic vegetative states have come-to, said they
>>were aware of everything that went on around them, heard and felt
>>everything---just couldn't move purposefully, talk, or do anything about
>A coma or PVS is way different from being brain-dead, although
>superficially I can understand that they appear the same.  The tests are
>rigourous to diagnose brain-death, I can assure you they've considered
>all the problems.
>A relative had an episode of "awareness" during a c-section and although
>her blood-pressure went sky-high and she heard someone in the room say "I
>saw her toe twitch" it was ignored and they went right on cutting. She
>heard and felt everything, until she just passed out from the pain when
>the cold room air hit the inside of her open abdomen.
>I know these things unfortunately happen, but they're rare (not that
>that's much consolation).  Seems like the anaesthetist needed waking up,
>If medicine is indeed "an art and not a science", none of us, not even
>doctors, can ever be entirely sure what those donors feel when they are
>cut up without anesthesia.
>We can, because they are not responding to anything else at a higher
>level. Someone in a coma or PVS will contract their pupils when you shine
>a light in them, for example.

   Yes, though there are various criteria for brain death.  In all of
them you can expect no blood flow to most of the brain and brainstem--
sometimes not any. In any case, most of what's in your skull after a
day or two will be a rotting carton of yogurt. Anybody who has secret
doubts about brain death can always request one or another variety of
blood flow scan to make sure of this. If you're on a ventolator and
have no EEG or brain stem reflexes, and there's no blood flow in your
brain when they look, at normal temperature, you're not going to be
waking up, saying you heard them talk about taking out your liver. In
fact, if you don't have any blood flow to your brain for a few hours,
you don't need to worry about ruling out drugs or hepatic coma or
whatever. You've had it, no matter what.  One day in the future that
may not be true, but it's certainly true today.

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