Edited 2.0, April 11, 2020
Continued from Part 1
Continuing with the Roman Catholic brochure featured on a Canadian organ donation site:
About the subject of determining death:
Most Catholic ethicists and clinicians accept brain death as a valid way of determining when death has occurred. Pope John Paul II in 2000 stated that “the complete and irreversible cessation of all brain activity (in the cerebrum, cerebellum and brain stem), if rigorously applied, does not seem to conflict with the essential elements of anthropology” (Address to the 18th International Conference of Organ Transplant Specialists, August 2000).
So, the brain death concept and organ donation have received endorsements from the Pope, and also from members of the “Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Life.” In 2006, they issued a statement affirming this (“Why the Concept of Brain Death Is Valid as a Definition of Death” in Signs of Death).
That’s a lot of effort–and lobbying I would guess. So that’s their opinion.
However . . .
“there are some Catholics, including a few members of the Pontifical Academy for Life, who hold either that total brain death is an inadequate sign that a person is dead or that the current tests for determining brain death are unreliable” (Finis Vitae: Is Brain Death Still Life?, 2007)
There are some details discussed also:
Catholics have embraced organ donation for years and have recognized that death can be determined, using reasonable available means, by the complete and irreversible cessation of all brain activity – so called “brain death”. When brain activity stops completely and irreversibly, the functions necessary to sustain life have also ceased and the death of the person may be medically declared.
It seems to me that there are way too many assumptions packed into this statement. This is more of a marketing statement of wishful thinking.
“irreversible cessation of all brain activity” – Is “irreversible” based on studies and real-life experience? The body is being kept on a type of life support, so . .
Then it says “when brain activity stops completely and irreversibly,” which is just the same assumption repeated. Someone makes a declaration based on their “reasonable” means. Who decided the “means” of testing brain death is reasonable? Who says it is?
And just to interject here, it turns out that, with the actual set of tests used–they do not test for the cessation of “all brain activity”–they do not test that “brain activity stops completely”–because they do not use an EEG to look for higher brain activity (https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/eeg/about/pac-20393875)–even though it was originally recommended–see the last part in the series.
These small groups of people who face whatever political pressures they face are the ones making decisions. But these types of decisions, within religious or political jurisdictions, need scrutiny from everyone–because everyone is affected. Officials should be scrutinized by each other and by regular church members or citizens. I am pointing towards a direct democratic approach that also can work better, I believe, to establish and protect firm codes of values (which we don’t have now). It doesn’t need to be perfect. Anything can be better than groups of experts making pronouncements and endorsements of procedures that are going to affect everyone. It’s not right that we can only sit by and watch as endless campaigns begin through mass media to endorse whatever the oligarchy wants to do next to overturn traditional ethical ideals that conflict with their agendas. And this has been going on for a long time–it’s interesting to catch a glimpse of how much political activity has gone on about this subject alone.
Most media has been run by oligarchs who have also had incredible influence over churches and academic institutions through their foundation funding. We haven’t had hardly any input into our society’s decision-making as regular citizens. We need direct democratic influence for everyone–for all major decision–not the pretense of democracy that we’ve had for many years. The Internet for a time has been giving us a taste of the ability to be aware of what is going on–and that seems to be ending as the media becomes a one-message, one-eyed cyclops. Via the Internet, we often have had the power to be aware of some events and to comment but not the power to influence decisions. And now there is more and more censorship of different kinds. If people need smaller societies or nations that uphold agreed values in order to have the power to influence *important* decisions–secular and spiritual combined in that case, which is another heresy from the establishment’s point of view, then maybe that’s what we need. If we don’t want the power to influence anything at all, then we just continue as we are–not even saying anything–just listening to mouthpieces tell us what to think and do.
Anyway, I appreciate this source of information and study coming from the Catholic Church. At least they produce something that provokes thought and mentions other points of view.
the discussion continues as to what amount of time is appropriate to establish that death has occurred before retrieving organs.
Many hospitals use 5 minutes as the benchmark, and others 2 minutes. With these concerns in mind, it is important to note that, in Ontario, several Catholic hospitals prudently use a benchmark of 10 minutes once the heart has stopped beating before organ donation occurs. This protocol is followed to be morally certain that all of the integrated functions necessary to sustain life have irreversibly ceased.
There’s that phrase again, but following a protocol can’t make someone “morally certain.” That’s like marketing to reassure others. The individual may or may not be certain even if the protocol is followed.
It’s obvious there is pressure to reduce the time the doctors want to wait before deciding the person is dead and getting the body ready for organ removal while they keep it alive (!).
I wouldn’t be comfortable at all assuming the person is gone, not after a few minutes, especially in that situation. Even after 10 minutes, I wouldn’t see any reason at all to be certain that unknown factors relating to the human identity (spiritual or not) could not revive the person.
I do not believe the body is just a mechanism that can be controlled by medicine and science.
But control is attempted–there are programs and concepts that concern the control of human behavior: Propaganda by Edward Bernays, Macy Cybernetics Conferences, Authoritarian Personality, MKUltra (LSD for example), Brave New World (use of drugs), Charles Galton Darwin, Arthur Koestler, Bertrand Russell, Pavlov, Skinner, etc.
I will continue this analysis with other information from official organ donation websites and media articles also.
Continued: Part 3