Thursday, June 12, 2008

Dead' man wakes as transplant surgeons prepare to remove his organs

A man whose heart had stopped beating woke up just as surgeons were about to remove his organs for donation, it was disclosed yesterday. Doctors in Paris earlier this year called in transplant surgeons after failing to resuscitate a 45-year old man believed to have suffered a massive heart attack in the French capital.

According to a report by the Paris university hospital's ethics committee - seen by Le Monde newspaper - doctors continued providing a heart massage for an hour and a half while they waited for the surgeons to arrive.
When the surgeons began operating on the man to remove his organs, he began to breathe, his pupils became responsive and he reacted to a pain test. "After a few weeks chequered with serious complications, the patient is now walking and talking," said the report. It is not known whether the man is aware of how close he was to losing his organs.

The incident highlights the ethical problems doctors face in deciding when a donor is really dead. (Link)

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