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Author Archive: Thaddeus Mason Pope

About Thaddeus Mason Pope

11/20/2014

Resolving Medical Futility Disputes – Alberta follows Ontario in Chalifoux v. Alberta Health Services

This month, the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta released an eleven-page opinion in Chalifoux v. Alberta Health Services.  This is a rather typical medical futility case resolved in a typical fashion. The Patient Ava Alayla Chalifoux-C...

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11/19/2014

Martha Perez – Texas Family Charges Organs Procured BEFORE Death

I recently summarized a few cases in which a patient was either negligently or intentionally declared dead prematurely.  

But this recent case reported by Fox News in Dallas Fort Worth indicates misunderstanding by the family rather than error by the clinicians.  

26-year-old Martha Perez dies from injuries sustained in an car wreck involving a suspected drunk driver.  Perez was a registered organ donor and doctors told the family they were prepared to harvest the organs for donations.

The family objected: “But she still has heart and lung functions,” said family member Juan Martinez.  Unfortunately, this statement indicates that the family does not understand that these cardiopulmonary functions are compatible with legal death in Texas.  They can be artificially sustained even after death is determined (on neurological criteria).   

On the other hand, the family also alleges: “They took her off the life support and she was still breathing.”  If that is true, then the determination of death must have been wrong.  A person breathing on their own (without ventilation support) cannot be dead under either cardiopulmonary or neurological criteria.

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11/18/2014

Texas Legislature to Address Marlise Munoz Dead Pregnant Situation

Yesterday, on Inside Texas Politics, Texas Representative Matt Krause said he is preparing legislation for the 2015 session that will address the situation in which a pregnant woman is on life support.   Removing life support from a pregnant woma...

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11/17/2014

Janina Kolkiewicz Wakes Up in Morgue after Pronounced Dead

On November 6, a Polish physician made a house call on 91-year-old Janina Kolkiewicz.  But after finding "no basic life functions," the physician declared her dead.  Two hours later she was taken to the morgue. The physician checke...

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11/16/2014

Oregon Death with Dignity Act – 20th Anniversary

Last week marked the 20th anniversary of the Oregon Death with Dignity Act.   Ballot initiative 16 was approved in the November 8, 1994 general election. 627,980 votes (51.3%) were cast in favor, 596,018 votes (48.7%) against.  But an i...

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11/16/2014

Top 30 Bioethics Journals on Earth

This list of English-language journals was recently compiled on Udo Schuklenk's blog.  He includes the standard qualifications. Journal of Medical Ethics                           &...

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11/15/2014

First Execution under Obamacare Death Panels?

An alarming debunking of baseless and dangerous rumors at Politifact.

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11/14/2014

Dhaka Hospital Withdraws Life Support without Consent or Consultation

Momtaz Zia was admitted to the Squares Hospital in Dhaka Bangledesh on October 19 following her second cardiac arrest. She was put on life support. Yesterday, Zia died after she was taken off life support without her family's consent, allege...

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11/13/2014

Patients and Clinicians Discuss Only 2 of 11 Goals of Care Elements

Studies showing lackluster rates of advance care planning are nothing new.  But this new study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal is particularly disturbing.  





















The authors identified 11 recommended elements of goals-of-care discussions that are the most important to older adults patients in hospital with serious illness and their family members.  They found that these elements are VERY infrequently addressed by health care providers in hospital.
  1. Asked the respondent about preferences for care in event of life-threatening illness
  2. Inquired about the respondent’s values
  3. Discussed prognosis 
  4. Gave an opportunity for the respondent to express fears or concerns
  5. Asked the respondent if they had additional questions about goals of care
  6. Provided information about outcomes, risks, benefits of comfort care
  7. Asked about prior discussions or written documents
  8. Offered a time to meet to discuss goals of care
  9. Provided information about outcomes, risks, benefits of life sustaining treatments
  10. Provided information to review about advance care planning before discussions
  11. Helped access legal documents to record advance care plans

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11/12/2014

UK Hospital Places DNR Order without Consent or Consultation

Leon Scoble and his sister Danni say that Basildon University Hospital put a “do not resuscitate” order on their father Paul Scoble without consulting them. (Echo)

On a Facebook page the family states:

"The doctors have twice put a Do Not Resuscitate on our Dad, we managed to get it lifted the first time but doctors refuse to lift it now their reason for this is due to a faulty heart valve." 

"He needs an operation on his heart to fix two faulty valves but the hospital have refused due to his size. We have heard about TAVI Mitral valve surgery by Dr Vinayak Bapat at St Thomas' Hospital in London and men much bigger than Dad have survived this operation."

"All we ask is that our Dad is given a chance at life, if he doesn't get this operation he will die. His situation has become pretty desperate over the last couple of weeks, he has been having panic attacks brought on by hearing doctors discussing switching off the machine. As you can imagine, he's terrified and so are we."

"The doctors have met and decided he is to receive no more treatment, even though the drugs being given are damaging to the kidneys, should a problem arise they have already stated that they will take no action."

"They tell us we cannot move our father to another hospital, as he is from Harlow."

"We want our Dad moved to a hospital that has the capability and desire to save his life (preferably St Thomas') He's a 48 year old father of two, who hasn't yet walked his only daughter down the aisle or held a first grandchild. He isn't a statistic, he's our world, so much more than just a father and we refuse to give up on him because he's never given up on us."

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