Thursday, September 5, 2013

French organ donor not dead

The case of a man whose heart stopped beating for 90 minutes only to revive just as doctors were preparing to remove his organs for transplants is fuelling ethical debates in France about when a person is dead.

The 45-year-old man suffered a massive heart attack and rescuers used cardiac massage to try and revive him without success before transferring him to a nearby hospital.

Due to a series of complex circumstances, revival efforts continued for longer than usual for a patient whose heart was not responding to treatment, until doctors started preparations to remove organs.

It was at that point that the astonished surgeons noticed the man was beginning to breathe unaided again, his pupils were active, he was giving signs that he could feel pain -- and finally, his heart started beating again.

Several weeks later, the man can walk and talk.

"This situation was a striking illustration of the questions that remain in the field of re-animation ... and what criteria can be used to determine that a re-animation has failed," says a report on the case, published online by an ethics committee.

The case has stirred debate among medical professionals and daily newspaper Le Monde on Tuesday dedicated a full page to the subject under the headline: "The organ donor wasn't dead".

"What is under consideration here is the status of a person, whether they are a patient who can be re-animated or a potential (organ) donor," said the ethics committee report.

 For the rest of the story: http://tvnz.co.nz/view/page/1318360/1841997

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