Are you an organ donor? If so, you may want to pay attention. A lawsuit was recently filed against the New York Organ Donor network. Whistleblower Patrick McMahon alleged that the Donor Network harvested organs prematurely. Inside the lawsuit, McMahon explains how he witnessed a case where a patient was classified as brain dead, about to have their organs harvested, and then needed tranquilizer medication because they were not immobile. Doctors are pressured to declare patients brain-dead when there still may have been a means to save the patient. At the same time, families of patients were pressured give consent to the donor network if the patient was not already a donor.
McMahon even mentions the fact that the New York Organ Donor Network has hired staff to train and coach employees on the best practices to ensure consent from the families and create a large supply of potential donors. With consent, the only other thing the Donor Network needed is a “note” from the doctor confirming the brain dead status of the patient. In response to the suit, a brain injury lawyer, Gordon Johnson, wrote that “…this is one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever read about.”
The lawsuit was filed in September of 2012 and since then there has been no comment from the hospitals or the New York Organ Donor Network. The goal of organ donor organizations is obtain as many organs as possible. There is nothing wrong with that. However, when an organization’s means of collection raise moral questions there is a problem. As a whistleblower, Patrick McMahon brought organ donation networks and their practices to the public’s attention. Should one of the victims families file suit, the situation may turn into a major class-action.