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  • Organ Trail

    The New York Post says doctors may be harvesting organs from people who aren’t quite dead. And the response to the media from the accused organ donation outfit was also malpractice.

    The story was sparked by a lawsuit filed against the New York Organ Donor Network by Patrick McMahon, an Air Force combat vet and nurse practitioner, who says he was fired as a transplant coordinator for protesting the network’s practice of pressuring the families of seriously ill patients to sign organ donation consent forms.

    In the suit, McMahon cites four cases of patients who he says were still showing signs of life when they were declared dead — allegedly so that their organs could be quickly collected.

    A spokeswoman for the  organ organization first tried to duck media questions by saying she hadn’t seen the lawsuit yet. Then she threw in some ineffective triage.

    She told the NY Post that only a doctor can declare a patient brain dead. It was as if she was trying to prove she hadn’t seen the lawsuit — since the suit alleges that it was doctors who were rushing the death judgements.

    Stories like this one can be very damaging to an organization – whether the lawsuit has merit or not.  So we would not prescribe the “haven’t seen the lawsuit yet” defense.  You need to respond stat!  But when you do respond — you need more than rhetoric — you need facts.

    There was a time when doctors’ decisions were rarely questioned.  Those days are long gone. 

    An effective response has to go beyond “trust me, the doctor said they were dead.”


  • State of Denial

    The State Department is upset that CNN is reporting news.

    It seems CNN folks visited the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya and another American facility there and somehow found a handwritten journal penned by Ambassador Chris Stevens who, along with three other Americans, was killed in attacks on September 11.

    A State Department official is now lashing out criticizing the network for “reading and transcribing” the Ambassador’s diary before informing his family and forwarding it to them.

    We are not buying the complaint.  It is totally unrealistic to expect any news organization which finds such a document — which reportedly contained newsworthy information (Steven’s concerns about the security situation in Benghazi) —  and not report on it.

    CNN could legitimately be criticized if they gratuitously released personal information from the diary that had no bearing on the tragic events of 9/11/12 – but they did not. 

    And they could be criticized if the information they released someone put in jeopardy other U.S. citizens still in the area — but they did not.

    Our only beef with the network is that originally when they reported on information from the journal they hid how they learned of Stevens’ concerns reporting:

    “A source familiar with Ambassador Stevens’ thinking says that in the months before his death, he talked about being worried about what he called the never-ending security threats specifically in Benghazi. This source telling us that the ambassador specifically mentioned the rise in Islamic extremism, the growing al Qaeda presence in Libya, and said he was on an al Qaeda hit list. … What we don’t yet know is why, given all that Ambassador Stevens thought, why he traveled with such an apparently light security detail, why he was allowed to?”

    Senior State Department officials say CNN’s actions were “indefensible.”  Not to us.  It is not hard at all to explain why CNN reported on what they found – information which could be considered embarrassing to the State Department.  What is harder to explain is why U.S. officials didn’t find the diary first.

  • Arkansas Happy Face Put On

    When meeting the press – unless you are talking about a very serious subject  — it is helpful to smile.  Nowhere is it written that the media need to smile back.

    Arkansas Razorback football coach John L. Smith apparently thinks differently.
    Take a look at his odd rant to reporters gathered for a press conference.

    The fact that beat reporters covering the Arkansas football team didn’t smile might be a sign that they have too much invested in the fortunes of the team — or perhaps they just didn’t want to appear indifferent to Arkansas’s misfortunes.

    The Razorbacks record so far is one win and two losses — including a 52-0 trouncing by Alabama last week and an overtime loss the week before to some school called “the University of Louisiana – Monroe.”