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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 1, 2005 / 21 Adar II, 5765

Getting Away with Murder by Death

By Drs. Michael A. Glueck & Robert J. Cihak

The Medicine Men
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The murder of certain groups of defenseless and innocent people bears no criminal penalties whenever the government refuses to acknowledge, or directly sanctions, the slaying.

Terri Schiavo is not the first innocent victim of murder sanctioned by judicial fiat, although the heroic efforts of her parents alerted the world about her heartbreaking death sentence.

Almost four decades ago, the fallacious concept of "brain death" was introduced to pry open the legal doors to the killing of another group of unnoticed innocents — people who agree to donate their vital organs at death.

Deeply compassionate people are encouraged to consent in writing to allow another person to benefit from their vital organs, such as the heart or liver, after they die. Potential donors overcome their discomfort about the procedure by imagining they will be giving away unneeded organs from their cold, lifeless bodies. But the real situation is often quite different.

According to the testimony of Dr. Paul Byrne, a neonatologist from Toledo, Ohio, to a Pontifical Academy of Sciences meeting in Rome in February:

"All the vital signs of the donors are still present prior to the harvesting of organs, such as: normal body temperature and blood pressure; the heart is beating; vital organs, like the liver and kidneys, are functioning; and the donor is breathing with the help of a ventilator."

Since organs deteriorate rapidly after the moment of actual death, the "brain death" fiction allows them to be removed while they are still alive and usable for transplant.

Those who defend the removal of organs in this way may agree that the donors are actually alive in the traditional sense, but then argue that "brain death" means the quality of the donor's life is so poor that the benefits of transplanting their organs to extend the life of another outweighs the cost of killing them in the process.

The usual meaning of the word "death" is twisted for the benefit of people who have an interest in declaring a dying person dead as soon as possible. Such interested third parties could include family members, like Michael Schiavo, who want guaranteed legal immunity when they discontinue life-prolonging measures.

But this article focuses on another group of "brain death" beneficiaries: those who have an interest in collecting vital organs to transplant.

Let's reiterate that many transplants don't require the death of the donor — such as blood transfusions, bone marrow transplants, skin grafts, and living kidney transplants; these wonderful medical innovations are not at issue here.

Most of us don't need a certified expert to ascertain that someone is really dead. When a person has no heart beat, isn't breathing and has rigor mortis, we know that person has died.

When none of these symptoms prevail, we view the person as alive.

The concept of "brain death" gets around these inconvenient facts and allows professionals to declare someone dead who, to other observers, shows signs of life.

Since so many scientists, experts and physicians are involved, "brain death" has the superficial appearance of a medical diagnosis based on strict criteria. Not so.

Dozens of different sets of criteria have been published since the concept first emerged in 1968 with the publication of the article "A Definition of Irreversible Coma" in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Numerous and varying sets of criteria about what constitutes brain death leave the field wide open for abuse or "different interpretations."

When a person is truly dead, the brain cells don't generate nerve impulses or EEG signals. But the converse, that no brain signals means no life, isn't true. Many people with brain trauma or oxygen deprivation such as from a stroke or water filling the lungs (pulmonary edema) have had no detectable brain waves yet regain full consciousness later once oxygen returns to the cells. In these people, brain cells are temporarily too weak to generate nerve impulses or EEG signals.

Obviously, removing a person's beating heart kills that person. Sometimes the heart is transplanted and beats on in another person. So, is it OK to take a beating heart from one person, as long as that person is declared brain dead, and transplant it in someone else who might die without it?

We say "No." In a culture of life, the answer would tend in the direction of preserving rather than taking life.

But our culture is shifting to a standard that allows the killing of a weak person whose quality of life is arbitrarily deemed inferior so that another person might benefit.

If a person, even a child, signs an organ donor card and doctors provide a diagnosis of brain death, that person's liver or beating heart can be removed.

Vehicle registration forms, driver's license applications and other public documents provide tick boxes allowing people to give an advance directive to donate their organs. If the person is incapacitated or a minor, qualified relatives can also give the required permission. These directives typically state that the donor will provide the organs "after death," but without defining what constitutes death.

This is not informed consent. It's an insidious deception cloaked in high-sounding altruism.

Whether a person is unborn, disabled or extremely ill, we hold that the life is sacred and is our most fundamental freedom. Let no law or person in our nation demand the life of an innocent person under any pretext. Life is worthy of our insistent, determined and unrelenting protection.

Editor's Note: Robert J. Cihak wrote this week's column.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Michael Arnold Glueck, M.D., is a multiple award winning writer who comments on medical-legal issues. Robert J. Cihak, M.D., is a Discovery Institute Senior Fellow and a past president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. Both JWR contributors are Harvard trained diagnostic radiologists. Comment by clicking here.

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