A dead woman kept alive? The story makes no sense, unless...

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Jul 11, 2017

What’s wrong with this headline?

Brain dead pregnant woman, 21, was kept alive for 123 days...

Obvious, isn’t it? If she was kept alive, she can’t have been dead. “Alive” and “dead” are not compatible conditions. But when brain-death is involved, journalists often make significant errors. This particular story, from London’s tabloid Daily Mail, is confused from the very first line:

A brain dead pregnant woman was kept alive for 123 days - the longest time ever - before delivering twins by emergency caesarean section.

Well, actually I’ve been “kept alive” for much longer than 123 days—as has everyone who reads this piece. Once again, if the mother was dead, she couldn’t have been kept alive. But there was more to the story. The unfortunate woman, who had suffered a massive cerebral hemorrhage, was pregnant. Remarkably, she remained pregnant—that is, her body continued to nourish the unborn twins.

Doctors decided to save the nine-week-old embryos after their hearts continued to beat inside their mothers’ womb.

How could unborn children derive sustenance from a dead body? The simple answer: they couldn’t. All of the mother’s vital organs were working. Yes, the organs had artificial help. But life-support systems can only do so much. A ventilator, for example, can push air in and out of lungs, but it cannot exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide; it cannot put oxygen into the blood stream. Living lungs can do that; dead lungs cannot. But the brain was not functioning, you say? That doesn’t make sense, either. Heart and lungs and intestines and glands receive their impulses from the brain. If the brain was dead, how were the other organs functioning?

Now notice something else about this story: If you remove the notion of “brain death” from the account, the confusion vanishes. A pregnant woman was kept alive by extraordinary means until her unborn children were delivered.

The hospital staff spoke and sang to the unborn twins during the pregnancy, we are told. I hope they spoke and sang to the mother, too, because while she may have been incapable of responding, she was still there.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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  • Posted by: bjones4524 - Jul. 17, 2017 4:46 PM ET USA

    Persons who have suffered an injury or have a disease or illness and are not capable of speaking and moving upon command, responding to satisfy another’s expectations within a given timeframe, are readily devalued as a person. Most in our age of modern medicine evaluate ones’ “personhood” in direct relation to ones’ bodily “functions” and “functioning.” Therefore, any “artificial” means applied to sustain life may be classified “extraordinary means” and this includes hydration and nutrition. The language of Living Wills and medical directives attest to this fact. Upon entering in a hospital, one must prove themselves to be capable of a full recovery and furthermore, must be determined to have the ability of a complete physical restoration that is expected within a given timeframe. This timeframe is not to incur needless, expensive medical therapy, “extraordinary means,” should it be determined one will “die anyway.” Thus, the human person is reduced to a container of “parts.” This is the perversity of the ethical mindset of “personhood,” the belief system developed and taught in establishing the deadly eugenic movement. It is a scientific and spiritual deviation developed by the autonomist who have long since overtaken medicine and undermined our Judeo-Christian faith. While although the euthanasia and eugenics enthusiasts were secretively and actively working behind closed doors, seeking a means to establish a stronghold within medicine in America, it wasn’t until the fallacy of the coined term, “brain death,” was introduced that their agenda was founded and later, lawfully imposed. “Brain death” was scientifically and theologically disputed upon its’ introduction in 1968 at Harvard University and to date, this raging dispute continues. What medical therapy could possibly be more “extraordinary” and expensive than that of organ transplantation? The answer is, none. The transplant industry is a 24-billion-dollar annual industry whose “chance” of benefiting another in falsely declaring a living person dead, when in fact alive, in the name of “brain death” is the crux of our country’s moral demise. This same ethic of the “functions” and “functioning” capability of the child in the womb brought about legalized abortion. The term, “brain death,” sufficed as a means to enhance the life of one through the killing of another. “Death with dignity,” the establishment of legalized euthanasia and the deceptive means of withdrawing medical therapy to sustain life in the name of palliative care (pall is a Latin word, meaning to cover), crossed the threshold of the door opened wide to the social acceptance and legal imposition of medical killing. If all human life is not held sacred and every person’s life protected and preserved, there shall not be any moral gauge in which a civil society can maintain and whose complete collapse shall occur. Are we not currently witnessing a time such as this? Fall on your knees, America, in prayer! Humble yourself, repent and return to our faith and devotion to traditional Catholic teaching—TRUTH! Rise-up and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves! For ones’ complete understand visit our website: www.lifeguardianfoundation.org Mrs. Bernice Jones

  • Posted by: bjones4524 - Jul. 17, 2017 4:42 PM ET USA

    Persons who have suffered an injury or have a disease or illness and are not capable of speaking and moving upon command, responding to satisfy another’s expectations within a given timeframe, are readily devalued as a person. Most in our age of modern medicine evaluate ones’ “personhood” in direct relation to ones’ bodily “functions” and “functioning.” Therefore, any “artificial” means applied to sustain life may be classified “extraordinary means” and this includes hydration and nutrition. The language of Living Wills and medical directives attest to this fact. Upon entering in a hospital, one must prove themselves to be capable of a full recovery and furthermore, must be determined to have the ability of a complete physical restoration that is expected within a given timeframe. This timeframe is not to incur needless, expensive medical therapy, “extraordinary means,” should it be determined one will “die anyway.” Thus, the human person is reduced to a container of “parts.” This is the perversity of the ethical mindset of “personhood,” the belief system developed and taught in establishing the deadly eugenic movement. It is a scientific and spiritual deviation developed by the autonomist who have long since overtaken medicine and undermined our Judeo-Christian faith. While although the euthanasia and eugenics enthusiasts were secretively and actively working behind closed doors, seeking a means to establish a stronghold within medicine in America, it wasn’t until the fallacy of the coined term, “brain death,” was introduced that their agenda was founded and later, lawfully imposed. “Brain death” was scientifically and theologically disputed upon its’ introduction in 1968 at Harvard University and to date, this raging dispute continues. What medical therapy could possibly be more “extraordinary” and expensive than that of organ transplantation? The answer is, none. The transplant industry is a 24-billion-dollar annual industry whose “chance” of benefiting another in falsely declaring a living person dead, when in fact alive, in the name of “brain death” is the crux of our country’s moral demise. This same ethic of the “functions” and “functioning” capability of the child in the womb brought about legalized abortion. The term, “brain death,” sufficed as a means to enhance the life of one through the killing of another. “Death with dignity,” the establishment of legalized euthanasia and the deceptive means of withdrawing medical therapy to sustain life in the name of palliative care (pall is a Latin word, meaning to cover), crossed the threshold of the door opened wide to the social acceptance and legal imposition of medical killing. If all human life is not held sacred and every person’s life protected and preserved, there shall not be any moral gauge in which a civil society can maintain and whose complete collapse shall occur. Are we not currently witnessing a time such as this? Fall on your knees, America, in prayer! Humble yourself, repent and return to our faith and devotion to traditional Catholic teaching—TRUTH! Rise-up and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves! For ones’ complete understand visit our website: www.lifeguardianfoundation.org

  • Posted by: james-w-anderson8230 - Jul. 14, 2017 5:18 PM ET USA

    Great analysis Phil. I hope you realize that you have probable bared yourself from ever becoming a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life.