Category: General

Brain death is not death

Doctors treat brain dead persons as dead even though other organs are functioning. The organs are removed and given to other persons. There are cases where heart transplantation had taken place and receivers had undergone change in behaviour and had memories of dead persons whose hearts they had received.

A news report by dt. 27/3/2008 by Catholic News Agency mentions the case of Zack Dunlap, A young man who was injured in an woke from his coma and showed signs of life just minutes before he was to be disconnected from life support. Doctors had determined he met the legal and medical requirements for declaring someone brain-dead and a medical team prepared to harvest Dunlap’s organs for donation.

A nurse, Dan Coffin, thought the monitor recording Dunlap’s vital signs showed signs of improvement. On a hunch he pulled out his pocketknife and scraped Dunlap’s foot from his heel to his toes.

Dunlap jerked his foot, but the attending hospital nurse believed it was only a reflex. Dan Coffin then stuck his fingernail beneath Dunlap’s fingernail, which provoked a purposeful movement, a sign of brain activity.

Doctors immediately resumed medical treatment. Dunlap opened his eyes after five days, and was taken off a ventilator two days later.

Forty-eight days after being declared dead, Dunlap returned home, where Dan Coffin presented him with the pocketknife that proved he was still alive.

Dunlap said he did not remember the accident, but he does remember the doctor declaring him dead. “I heard it and it just made me mad inside,” he said.

The theory that brain is the seat of the person and a brain dead person is dead even though he breathes needs to be discarded. We do not know how many lives have been lost due to this theory. Any persons who breathes, whose heart beats, whose pulse beats, shall not be declared dead. However extraordinary measures to prolong life need not be taken.

Doctors may be experts but experts can go wrong. I remember a joke. Once people were getting ready to bury a person. They were about to place the lid on his coffin. He opened his eyes and said, “I am not dead. Don’t bury me.” The people were stunned. Then they said, “The priest and the doctor have declared you dead. They are experts. Experts cannot be wrong.” They placed the lid on his coffin and lowered it in the grave.

Moses, Jesus and Superman

The films depicting life and heroics of Superman have Biblical themes in them. Superman has something in common with Moses and Jesus.

Moses is left in a basket to float on Nile. The daughter of Pharaoh finds him. She hires the mother of Moses to take care of Moses. After three months Moses grows up at Pharaoh’s palace. Superman is an infant when he is sent to earth from Krypton by his parents. He grows up on earth.

Jesus is the saviour, so is Superman. Both do good. Jesus raises the dead. Superman brings Lois back to life by going back on time. Jesus performs miracles. Superman’s deeds are miraculous. Jesus suffers, so does Superman. Jesus conquers death by resurrection. Superman does not die.

Joseph D’Souza R.I.P.

My brother Joseph was born on 10/5/1962. He was fourth among brothers and sisters. He had cleft palate. Some years later he was operated upon. He studied at Adyapady and Bajpe. He got many prizes in sports. He joined Karnataka Polytechnic at Mangalore but after few months he stopped attending and discontinued the course.

He worked at various places. There were long periods when he was unemployed.

He experimented in engineering and technical matters.

He was restless for a long time. Travelled to many places.

He was unsuccessful in love and could not marry.

He had attended our cousin’s daughter Remmy Sequeira’s roce on 8/12/2007. While coming his purse containing Rs.2,500/- was stolen. He had wept.

Joseph had big dreams. He did not save. Spent whatever he earned. Bought books on various subjects. Experimented in engineering and technical matters.

Joseph was a strong man.

Joseph died on 29/12/2007 between 9.20 p.m. and 9.40 p.m. That night it was Nelson’s roce. The programme was on terrace. He took lead in dancing. Many had joined. Suddenly he fell. He was unconscious. Water was sprinkled on him. His hands and feet were rubbed. He was taken to Flat No. 201. Someone said there is pulse beat. I tried his hand. It was cold. Someone said there is heartbeat. Mouth to mouth resuscitation was tried. Mervine lit torch and tested his eyes and said there is reaction. Dr. Ajit Madhavan came. He lit torch and tested his eyes and said he had to be taken to hospital.

We put him in Francis Sequeira’s car. He was placed on middle seats. Lancy sat behind. I wanted to go with him to the hospital and I got in at front. Mervine also wanted to go. I got down and let Mervine go. After sometime somebody said on phone Joseph is on glucose.

Around 11.20 the car returned. Francis said it was all over.

Originally the intention was to have funeral on 31/12/2007. Since Blesilla was coming from Argentina it was postponed to 1/1/2008. Body from morgue reached home at around 3.20. Prayers by priest were at 4.00 p.m. 4.30 funeral mass. The body was brought out of church at 5.05. Jossy’s employer wanted to see the body so it was kept till 5.28. Coffin could not be closed properly and it did not go down fully. Got stuck up due to some bricks which were slightly inside. Coffin was taken out. Bricks were dug. Then coffin was lowered. It was as if Joseph did not want to leave.

May his soul rest in peace.