X-Message-Number: 14345
Date: Sat, 19 Aug 2000 18:06:13 -0400
From: Jan Coetzee <>
Subject: Call for Anesthesia for Braindead UK Organ Donors

Saturday August 19 7:44 AM ET
Call for Anesthesia for Braindead UK Organ Donors

LONDON (Reuters) - Leading British anesthetists have called for
brain-dead organ donors to be
administered anesthetics before their organs are removed amid fears they
could still be aware of
pain, the Guardian reported on Saturday.

The paper cited an editorial in the Royal College of Anesthetists'
journal ``Anesthesia'' as saying
both muscle movements and increases in blood pressure and the heart
rate, which occur in some
cases of organ removal, distress medical staff witnessing the operation.

``Death is not an event but a process and our limited understanding of
the process should demand
caution before assuming that anesthesia is not required,'' Basil Matta
and Peter Young of
Addenbrooke's hospital in Cambridge said in the editorial.

A number of studies had shown some activity detected in brain cells even
though the brain-stem
-- which connects the brain to the spine -- is unresponsive, they added.

Guidelines issued by Britain's Intensive Care Society watchdog state
that the use of anesthetics is
not necessary during such operations on brain-dead patients, and the
Department of Health
rejected the anesthetists' claims.

``There is no doubt that when people are brain-dead they don't feel any
pain,'' a Department of
Health spokeswoman said.

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