Man accuses organ-donor network of pushing brain-dead classification

A new lawsuit accuses the New York Organ Donor Network of pressuring hospital employees to prematurely declare patients brain dead so their body parts could be harvested.
 
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday night, alleges that the New York Organ Donor Network pressured doctors to sign off on patients as brain dead, even as one former NYODN employee says patients moved and at least one tried to breathe on their own.
 
Patrick McMahon, who filed the Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit, said he was fired as a NYODN nurse practitioner in 2011 as a transplant coordinator for the Network after being called a “troublemaker” for protesting the practice.
 
“It was like a horror movie,” McMahon told Metro. “I would show them that somebody has brain function and that they’re moving, and in one of the cases the person I was working with … I said, ‘Do you see this?’ and she goes, ‘What kind of life would they have anyway?’ And this person had been signed off on dead.”

He added, “It was just appalling.”
 
For example, the lawsuit cites an example of a 19-year-old who was in a car wreck and admitted in critical condition. The teen made an effort to breathe and showed other signs of brain activity, according to the court documents, but the Network allegedly “aggressively pursued” having him declared brain dead.
 
The lawsuit also recounts a woman given a paralytic before the operation, which court documents note as “out of the ordinary” because organ donors should be already deceased and not need muscle paralytic.
 
“I want the courts to intervene and stop this behavior,” McMahon said. “I want people to know that this is out there.”

In a statement, the Network said their employees play no role in declaring brain death.
 
“The allegations made by a former employee are baseless and an affront to the work that the New York Organ Donor Network is doing in the New York City area to save and improve the lives of New Yorkers through organ donation and transplantation,” the statement added.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Bloomberg: Going green will grant you longer life…

Former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg tells Metro that cities are where fighting global warming can make a difference, and increase people’s lifespan.

International

Ban Ki Moon: "Climate change is an issue…

My message to you is: make your voice heard and your actions count. Change is in the air. Solutions exist. The race is on. It’s time to lead.

Local

Earth Day New York food toolkits to help…

Hundreds of classrooms across New York City already have indoor container gardens that allow students to grow food right where they learn. But Earth Day…

Local

NYPD announces street closures for United Nations General…

The United Nations representatives are in town, and multiple city streets will be closed to traffic through Saturday, Sept. 26. The NYPD is urging those…

Television

10 Facts you won’t learn about Frankie Grande…

Frankie Grande is the worst and/or the best. Whether or not you're a fan, you'll want to know these facts about the polarizing player from "Big Brother 16."

Movies

Antoine Fuqua can kill someone with just a…

It's amazing what you can get done with the right tools. In designing the climactic battle in "the Equalizer," in which Denzel Washington's retired special…

Movies

Guess Ben Kingsley's worst filmmaking experience

Here's a fun game: Sir Ben Kingsley has made a lot of films since "Gandhi" in 1982, but at least one of them was a…

Books

Does Lena Dunham have any secrets left?

Get a sneak peek at her new book to determine if it’s worth the read.

NFL

Eli Manning finally feeling good in West Coast…

The Giants have very little time before their next game, but they still took a moment to relish the team’s biggest offensive outburst since Week 1 of 2013.

College

College football top 25 poll: Oregon, Alabama close…

College football top 25 poll: Oregon, Alabama close in on FSU

NFL

Jay Cutler takes Marc Trestman's coaching to heart

While Jay Cutler turned to an autobiography on the man who would be his head coach, Trestman had personal experience with the player.

NFL

Jets vs. Bears: 3 things to watch

Jets fans likely chalked up Monday's matchup with the Bears as a loss when the NFL schedule came out. But given their team's play so…

Wellbeing

Lacking new ideas, Apple Watch disappoints health experts

Technology pundits were quick to predict the demise of most fitness wristbands and smartwatches when the Apple Watch was announced. But health care professionals and…

Style

Sarah Doukas on social media, models and diversity

The maker of Kate Moss tells Metro how social media can drive the diversity change in the fashion industry.

Education

Here are this year's most creative college application…

The college application essay is one of the only times during the admissions process where a student can showcase his or her personality. While many…

Style

Nicola Formichetti on Diesel, the digital revolution and…

The artistic director of fashion label Diesel – and stylist for Lady Gaga – is creating human connection through social media.