If a patient is able to process oxygen from the lungs into the bloodstream, maintain a normal body temperature, digest food and expel waste, grow to normal adult size from the age of four to twenty, and even carry a child to term, can he or she be considered dead? Can a person who is “dead” wake up and go on later to finish a university degree? Can a corpse get out of bed, go home and go fishing? Can he get married and have children?
These are among the real-life stories of patients declared “brain dead” presented by medical experts at the “Signs of Life” conference on “brain death” criteria last week.
Ten speakers, who are among the world’s most eminent in their fields, sounded a ringing rebuke to the continued support among medical professionals and ethicists for “brain death” as an accepted criterion for organ removal.
Dr. Paul Byrne, the conference organizer, told LifeSiteNews.com he was delighted with the success of the conference, that he hopes will bring the message that “brain death is not death” to world arenas where support for “brain death” criteria is still strong.
Dr. Byrne, a neonatologist and clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Toledo, compared the struggle against “brain death” criteria with another battle: “I’m sure that slavery was at one time well-accepted in the United States, and that people saw big benefits to slavery. And yes, it was difficult to go away from that but it was absolutely essential.”
“Slavery was doing evil things to persons. This issue of ‘brain death’ was invented to get beating hearts for transplantation. And there is no way that this can go on. It must get stopped.”
Participants came from all over the world to attend the Signs of Life conference, with speakers from Quebec, Alberta, Ontario, Germany, Poland, the US, Brazil and Italy. The conference hall was packed to standing-room only with physicians, clergy, students, journalists, and academics. Conference organizers told LifeSiteNews.com that they had expected no more than a hundred to attend and were surprised but very pleased with the crowd of over 170 for the one-day event.
“It’s here to demonstrate clearly that ‘brain death’ never was true death.
“When there are attacks on life, then we, as physicians, defend it and that is what this conference is for.”
The Signs of Life conference, sponsored privately by various pro-life organizations, including Human Life International, American Life League and the Italian organization Associazione Famiglia Domani, stood in opposition to the second PAS conference, which was titled, “The Signs of Death.”
Related: Doctor to Tell Brain Death Conference Removing Organs from “Brain Dead” Patients Tantamount to Murder http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/feb/09021608.html