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Archive for October, 2010

.It’s not even “mostly dead.” 

From Seattle (via Houston) comes another story of a patient misdiagnosed as brain dead.  Unlike previous stories I’ve posted, this one has the organ harvesters as the heroes.

Karen Arbogast was a wife, mother and grandmother who volunteered as an EMT in the Tri-Cities area.On Tuesday, she was dead.

On Wednesday, she was alive.

Arbogast, 51, was involved in a three-vehicle crash early Tuesday evening at Highway 395 and Hildebrand Road in the Tri-Cities area.

The Washington State Patrol said a FedEx delivery truck struck a Toyota Camry after running a red light on Highway 395. The truck then slammed into the driver’s side of the Mercury Monterey van.

Arbogast was unconscious but breathing and taken to Kennewick General Hospital, said investigators.

“We couldn’t believe that this just happened,” said her daughter Candice Duncan, who rushed with other family to be by her mother’s side. “She’s always, always, thought of other people first.”

But relatives said doctors in Kennewick told them the crash had left her brain-dead, or at least, with no brain activity.

“[It was] sad to see Mom being in that kind of state,” said her son, Scott Magnuson.

Because Karen is registered as an organ donor, her husband, Carl, signed release forms. Doctors left her on life support so they could fly her to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle for the organ harvesting procedure.

“My dad took off her wedding rings and all that stuff, and we all said goodbye,” said Duncan.

“And it was hard,” said Magnuson. “I didn’t really say goodbye because I still had hope, you know. I just kind of got down next to her and kissed her forehead and said, ‘I hope you recover.'”

Little did he know his words would be prophetic. The first word from Harborview came early Wednesday morning, said Carl’s brother Perry Arbogast.

“He’s there sitting at his chair at 2:30 in the morning,” said Perry, “and the doctor calls and says … ‘we have signs of life.'”

Ten hours after the crash, Harborview had found brain activity. They were calling, asking if they could perform surgery, said Perry.

“From being to the depths of losing your wife after 31 years, and then to find hope that she’s still alive?” he said.

As shocked family members drove to Seattle from Hermiston and Umatilla, Oregon, doctors removed a blood clot from Karen’s brain and cut into her skull to relieve pressure, said relatives.

And it appears to be working. As of Thursday night, Karen Arbogast’s condition has been upgraded to serious, said a hospital spokesperson. Though unconscious, she’s even moving.

“Today, she moved her upper shoulder and she wiggled her toes on her right side and her irises are responding to light,” said Duncan. He said Karen was even able to breathe on her own for 45 minutes.

Perry said a neurologist told them it is actually not unusual for victims to have no detectable brain activity for several hours after major trauma, but he’s calling it something akin to a miracle, though she’s not out of the woods yet.

“Had they not sent her here to harvest the organs they would not have found out she was alive,” said Perry Arbogast. “I think that’s remarkable.”

Family members said doctors are still giving Karen just a 25 percent chance of regaining consciousness. But for now, Duncan said she’s not worried about her mother dying anymore.

“My mom has just always been there for me and been a pillar of strength for me,” said Candice, who said people around the country have been praying for Karen’s recovery. “Mom taught me to hold on to that and never let go.”

http://www.khou.com/news/Woman-makes-miraculous-comeback-from-brain-death-diagnosis-105533163.html

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A couple news articles prompted my short posting today.

First up. 

The news this week that the actor, Neil Patrick Harris and his gay partner have become the parents of twins.  According to People Magazine, a boy and girl twin were “welcomed home” on Oct. 12th, apparently the result of some sort of surrogate situation.  I myself stumbled upon the news via Twitter, where Harris announced the arrival:  

Babies!! On 10/12, Gideon Scott and Harper Grace entered the Burtka-Harris fold. All of us are happy, healthy, tired, and a little pukey. 5:00 PM Oct 15th via Twitterrific

 My first thought was confusion, because I vaguely remember that Neil Patrick Harris had declared himself a homosexual.  Then I realized that yes, it was Harris and his gay partner.  The next twitter from NPH was:

Youngsters. They cry a lot. I thought it was just a long bit that they were doing. I keep saying, “Annnnd, scene!”… but nothing happens. 10:40 PM Oct 16th via web

At this point, I got rather sad, thinking of these two little children, infants, being raised by these two hapless men, without the necessary mothering touch of a woman.  No matter how sensitive and caring these two men are, neither can replace the soft embrace of a woman.  And I dunno.  It made me profoundly sad for these two babies.

But I should not worry as an anonymous source (the ubiquitous “close to the actor” friend) assures us that “Neil and David are going to make sure their kids have a normal childhood”. 

So there you go.  I feel much better now.

Second.

The immoral practice of invitro fertilization continues to confound states, courts and ethicists.  Funny how when we encourage selfish societal behavior we get such a mess to clean up. 

Seems that IVF has resulted in a large number of posthumous births, and consequently legal issues of inheritance.   If a baby is born after the parent’s death, sometimes without the prior or specific authorization of the parent, what legal relationship exists between the dead “parent” and the child?  Well, you’ll be assured to know that this is a rising legal field and we already have attorneys specializing in this.  This is really a great step forward for the neglected segment of our society: let’s call them “embryonic gold-diggers” who can be recognized in the wills of well-to-do dead folks by using the foolishly left behind eggs and embryos to give birth to children claimants. 

I wanted to add sarcastically to this post something along the lines of “well, at least the courts have gotten the mechanisms in place to deal with the evolution of these moral quagmires” what with the rise of invitro fertilizations, test tube babies, gay parenting, surrogacy, abortion on demand, no fault divorces, and contraception.  Then I realized that I just summed up history of the slippery slope we’ve been sliding down for 50+ years.  It’s a long grey line, and its getting longer and greyer.

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I meant to post this closer to last weekend, but travel and illness kept me from it.  However, I am very happy that our namesake has been beatified.  Chiara “Luce” Badano was declared Blessed on Saturday, September 25, 2010.

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Young Chiara Luce Badano has been an inspiration to me for the way she wholely, unreservedly and intentionally chose to accept God’s plan for her life.  Her joy is palpable in her actions of her life, in her words passed down to us, and in the very photos of her life, especially her long terminal illness.

Blessed Chiara Luce, pray for us!

(Click here to see the very moving video on her life and cause which Rome Reports has posted.)

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