Letter: Transplant tests
Wednesday 24 February 1999
True, the "semblance" of life remains, but the diagnosis of brain-stem death excludes the possibility of any form of conscious survival or an existence without life-support. A few minutes after disconnection from the ventilator the donor would cease to "be warm and pink ... have a heartbeat and pulse" because the areas of the brain which regulate this activity are dead. Even ventilated, the donor requires increasing intervention from medical staff to regulate the metabolic and cardiovascular instabilities which occur following brain-stem death and the consequent lack of autonomic control from higher centres. The time from the diagnosis of brain-stem death to life being declared extinct by the more traditional clinical markers can only be counted in days.
Taking organs for transplant is never going to be pleasant for any concerned, but the thousands requiring organs are alive in the full sense of the word and can go on to live productive lives. Organs are removed only after we are sure that there is no hope left for the donor, and consent is obtained from next of kin.
Dr ANDREW ROBINSON
Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 2 Russian girl takes her own life after parents find pornography on her computer
- 3 Kim Kardashian on Bruce Jenner's 'story': 'We support him no matter what, and I think when the time is right, he'll talk'
- 4 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
The Jump 2015 line-up: Joey Essex, Mike Tindall, Jodie Kidd and co take to the slopes
Game of Thrones: Grey Worm actor Jacob Anderson is all for more male nudity – as long as he can keep his clothes on
Roald Dahl letter warning student to 'eschew beastly adjectives' goes viral 35 years later
Churchill: The Nation's Farewell, TV review: Paxman reveals truth behind crane docker tribute, but delivers a fitting honour to Winston
Read Tom DeLonge's open letter about Blink 182 split: 'Our relationship got poisoned'
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia