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How about "After Declaration of Death" Safety?

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Today's medical system totally overlooks one of the most horrifying patient safety issues.  That issue is when patients declared dead REVIVE.

In my 80+ year lifetime, two doctors have blown the whistle in this arena, reporting that there are quite a few more instances of reviving than make it into public media.  The concern among doctors and institutions is the appearance of medical malpractice.  (It's only the appearance, doctors aren't God and can't be sure in just the short time they are given.)

If you're lucky, you may revive in a morgue.  If not, you may revive in the cremation oven or underground.  Those "unlucky" cases WILL NEVER BE KNOWN. but statistically, we can be sure they happen more or less regularly.

Keep in mind that determination of death is VERY skimpy, requiring only a few minutes of no heartbeat and breathing.  There have been studies finding that the brain can actually keep working for some HOURS.  Victorian era evidence showed coffin linings being ripped by the occupant.

The main reason for this callous disregard of patient safety may well be that a fictitious "brain dead" declaration, applied to patients who are still artificially breathing and circulating blood, is used to HARVEST VALUABLE ORGANS.  Big Bucks Bend Rules.

The true state of the patient is hidden by NOT keeping an EEG unit connected and monitored throughout the 3-4 hour procedure.  Far more cruel, the patients are ONLY GIVEN PARALYSIS DRUGS, NO PAINKILLING ANESTHETICS.  If they start feeling pain during organ harvesting, nobody will know except the torture victim.

So reader, remember that ALL of us can be subject to this form of potential torture and we ALL should be helping to require making reviving impossible, at least when a patient requests it.

To me, this should be right at the TOP of the patient safety topic lists.

I suggest it's about time for medical professionals to acknowledge that there is an unknown number of revive-after-declared death cases which, due to fears of being called out for malpractice, never get made known to the public.  Thus, the public does not have a fair picture of how serious this problem may be.

I suggest that it's long overdue for medicine to adopt methods where a patient is assured that once death has been declared, a method of preventing reviving will be applied, probably on request.

I suggest that a simple way might be to inject a couple of hundred milligrams (in solution) of morphine into the heart or major artery.  This can be done with materials on hand and is minimally inconvenient for the attending physicians.

A really sure method would be the draining of blood.  Autopsy facilities should be able to accomplish that without a lot of difficulty.

I suggest that the current practice of telling the patient "The mortuary will take care of that" is INSUFFICIENT - a patient has no way of knowing what will happen once they are shipped out of the hospital morgue.

So I say "C'mon doctors!  You are highly educated in physiology -- DO YOUR PATIENTS A GREAT KINDNESS AND SET UP A SYSTEM FOR THIS NEED."

Thanks for all the medical system does, in spite of this one failing,

Eleanor Weiss


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