Organ Donor Network Used 'Atrocious' Practices, Former Worker Claims

Whistleblowing nurse fired

Organ donors provide a potential lifeline to patients with failing hearts, kidneys and other body parts. But in the back of many potential organ donors' minds is the nagging concern that the harvesting of organs will begin before there's a certainty that they are dead.

Yet that is the explosive charge contained in a lawsuit by a former employee-turned-whistle-blower of the New York Organ Donor Network, who says the organization pressured hospitals to declare patients brain dead to facilitate organ harvesting, the Staten Island Advance reports.

"It's atrocious what's going on," Patrick McMahon (pictured above) told the Advance. "These individuals that aren't brain dead can't speak for themselves. The family members aren't experts. I'm trying to stop [the network] from doing this."

McMahon, a nurse practitioner and Air Force combat veteran, alleges that he was fired for blowing the whistle on the nonprofit organization's practices, which he called a "quota" system. In the lawsuit, the 50-year-old McMahon charges that his former employer solicited brain-death declarations from hospital staff even when patients showed signs of life.

Further, the newspaper reports, employees of the network hounded patients' grieving kin for organ-removal authorization before their loved ones were officially deemed brain dead, McMahon alleges.

Before organs can be removed for transplantation, a hospital must declare the donor brain dead, and families must sign a consent form. McMahon's lawsuit, filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, cites four examples of improper organ harvesting, the New York Post reports.

More: Does It Ever Pay To Be A Whistleblower?

In an instance last year, a 19-year-old man injured in a car wreck was admitted to Nassau University Medical Center and declared brain dead by doctors even though he was still trying to breathe and showed signs of brain activity, the suit alleges. The doctors purportedly acted under pressure from New York Organ Donor Network officials, including its medical director, Michael Goldstein, whom court documents quote as saying in a conference call: "This kid is dead, you got that?"

In another instance last November, an unnamed woman was admitted to Staten Island University Hospital after a drug overdose. She was declared brain dead and had her organs removed, the Post reports, citing the lawsuit.

Just as her organs were to be harvested, McMahon noticed that she was being given "a paralyzing anesthetic" because her body was still jerking. When he objected, another network employee told hospital personnel that McMahon was "an untrained troublemaker with a history of raising frivolous issues and questions," according to the suit.

"I had a reputation for raising a red flag," he told the tabloid.

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Network spokeswoman Julia Rivera told the Post that she hadn't seen the suit, but noted that only doctors can declare a patient brain dead. She also called McMahon's allegation that the network used a quota system "ridiculous," adding that no such system exists. A spokeswoman for Richmond University Medical Center declined to comment to the newspaper, and representatives for Nassau University Medical Center and Staten Island University Hospital couldn't be reached for comment.

McMahon was told that the basis for his termination was his failure to properly satisfy job requirements and inefficiency as a transplant coordinator, the court documents state. But McMahon told the Advance: "It's all ridiculous. It's totally false."




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David Schepp

Staff Writer

David Schepp has spent more than a dozen years covering business news for the electronic and print media, including Dow Jones Newswires, BBC News, Gannett Co., and most recently at AOL's DailyFinance. Nearly 10 years ago, he started writing a weekly People@Work column, looking in depth at issues facing workers in today's workplace. The syndicated column appeared in newspapers and websites nationwide before it made its debut on DailyFinance in 2010. Schepp now continues that tradition at Aol Jobs, covering the jobs beat and providing readers insight and analysis into the nation's challenging employment scene.

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ANICK

Its TRUE but they have a lot of MONEY and POWER. They will attack you if you even try to BLOW whistle. Now for the TOPPER. Black people are being allow to die for harvesting earlier than any other ethnic patient. White doctors are paid to keep supplying or harvesting organs. Anytime WHITE people profit from predominately BLACK people, they go for the highest amount of profit and will kill a BLACK man with a broken LEG if they can harvest their organs. RACISM is a TRIP.

October 01 2012 at 11:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
suzanne.altmann

Lawsuit also in Germany - World-wide phenomenon

Googling I came across a criminal charge for murder and formation of a criminal organization that the German Organ Transplantation Foundation faces, a similar organization to the NY Organ Donor Network. So, it seems to be a world-wide phenomenon that organ harvesting (a horrible word, don't you think?) is always done in an illegal area where the right to life is abolished.
The criminal charge contains many new thoughts about the issue. The most important I think—and this is also of interest here—is the argument that nothing is done without a medical doctor, he or she is in responsibility of everything. Moreover, the concept of “brain death” itself was introduced by medical doctors, in 1968 at Harvard University.
Today “brain death” is a preset computer program, a digital oracle, that the physicians have put the prophecy in its mouth, and the programmed curse hits of course always the patients, i.e. everybody!
One could become desperate if it weren't for the Patients' Front.

See:
http://spkpfh.de/Criminal_charges_against_the_German_Medical_Association.htm

October 01 2012 at 7:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
liver.kidney

alycemd. You calling Mr. McMahon a Liar? You don't even know the detail facts of what he has. Those details presumably will come out in court. i do not know Mr. McMahon and has no vested interest in him. However, I believe the validity of his claim as I've worked in transplant and was disheartened by what I have saw and experienced. it was not a perfect system and yes I believe it needs to be fixed. Hopefully, now some changes will take place. Just because there is a "M.D." behind a name does not make a person above the law or moral. There are plenty of unethical practices in the past in the medical community...why do you think this isn't one such incidence. What about the Tuskegee syphilis study where patients were denies "miracle drug" penicillin to cure their syphillis. The study was kept secret until 1972 when a former employee leaked the secret and then President Bill Clinton issued and public apology in 1997!!!! YEAH RIGHT...DOCTORS NEVER LIE AND ARE ALWAYS ETHICAL!!!!

September 29 2012 at 10:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
alycemd

If this "nurse" had any proof of what s/he allegees, I would expect to see it here. Since I dont't. I hightly dougbht it's vreacuty. LIAR!,

September 29 2012 at 5:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
alycemd

If this "nurse" had any proof of what s/he allegees, I would expect to see it here. Since I dont't. I hightly dougbht it's vreacuty. LIAR!,

September 29 2012 at 5:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
alycemd

If this "nurse" had abt aproof of what h/he allegees, I would expect to see it here. Since I dont't. I hightly dougbt it's vreacuty. LIAR!,

September 29 2012 at 5:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
alycemd

If this "nurse" had abt aproof of what h/he allegees, I would expect to see it here. Since I dont't. I hightly dougbt it's vreacuty. LIAR!,

September 29 2012 at 5:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
janet

I worked for over 20 years in Administration for a hospital less than 40 minutes out of NY city.

McMahon's allegations gave me pause and substantiated information that was shared with me from three individual nurses over the last 8 years. I cannot go into detail, I will simply say that all three nurses, two female and one male, advised me to NEVER check the organ donor area on your driver's license. They were adamant. They shared their reasons and were extremely troubled by their experience.

My discussion with these three 'in the moment' nurse witnesses, prompted serious thought for me.... Enough so, that I refuse to check the donor box on my drivers license. Nor did my husband. I still discuss this issue with our grown children. I would feel much better if they would remove their checks. Their response to the confidential information I shared with them was disbelief.
To this, I can only caution...Do Believe ! I offered information that shattered our four sons belief in the
high moral culpability all parents try to teach their children.

I trust only my family to make my life decision if I am incomparable to do so. They understand my wishes. If I have a remote chance for survival, I want to live. They will make this decision based on their own observation. Stop life support, but do not harvest my organs while I am still breathing and fighting for life. I will happily allow my family to volunteer any viable organs after I am dead.

My advice to anyone who reads this is to consider the information McMahon alleges. You don't have to believe him, or like him.
I don't know this man. I have no vested interest him or his job.
I do know that whistle - blowers are always subjected to name calling by the network of fledglings involved in any scandalous activity. Involvement may simply be witness to an action. Nagging feelings shout that a moral issue was gravely compromised and the unfortunate witness was helpless to stop the action.

The network of the Care Giving Industry is vast and hugely powerful.
The underbelly of some networks are not for scratching. It is dangerous.

September 29 2012 at 12:27 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
icastfuturestars

The man has a CONSCIENCE--he's a GOOD man who has filed this lawsuit. but what they do to the LIVING patients in NYC hospitals..the abuse..violation of rights-low quality care--slow waits--inaccurate diagnosis and NO CHECK SYSTEM FOR ERRORS (you are on your own in a hospital when they abuse you) is far worse. This man will probably wind up dead with his own organs sold to someone for speaking out. Real Life horror movie.

September 29 2012 at 12:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
janet

I worked for over 20 years in Administration for a hospital less than 40 minutes out of NY city.

McMahon's allegations gave me pause and substantiated information that was shared with me from three individual nurses over the last 8 years. I cannot go into detail, I will simply say that all three nurses, two female and one male, advised me to NEVER check the organ donor area on your driver's license. They were adamant. They shared their reasons and were extremely troubled by their experience.

My discussion with these three 'in the moment' nurse witnesses, prompted serious thought for me.... Enough so, that I refuse to check the donor box on my drivers license. Nor did my husband. I still discuss this issue with our grown children. I would feel much better if they would remove their checks. Their response to the confidential information I shared with them was disbelief.
To this, I can only caution...Do Believe ! I offered information that shattered our four sons belief in the
high moral culpability all parents try to teach their children.

I trust only my family to make my life decision if I am incomparable to do so. They understand my wishes. If I have a remote chance for survival, I want to live. They will make this decision based on their own observation. Stop life support, but do not harvest my organs while I am still breathing and fighting for life. I will happily allow my family to volunteer any viable organs after I am dead.

My advice to anyone who reads this is to consider the information McMahon alleges. You don't have to believe him, or like him.
I don't know this man. I have no vested interest him or his job.
I do know that whistle - blowers are always subjected to name calling by the network of fledglings involved in any scandalous activity. Involvement may simply be witness to an action. Nagging feelings shout that a moral issue was gravely compromised and the unfortunate witness was helpless to stop the action.

The network of the Care Giving Industry is vast and hugely powerful.
The underbelly of some networks are not for scratching. It is dangerous.

September 29 2012 at 12:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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