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<<   作成日時 : 2009/03/08 20:40   >>

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 2007年にスノーボード事故で脳損傷を負った18歳の両親は、臓器を収穫するために、医師が「意図的に」彼を「殺した」と言っている。
 西ペンシルベニアの米国連邦地裁で今週起こされた訴訟において、マイケルとテレサ・ジェイコブズは、治療を延期し、最終的に呼吸の管を抜くことによって、医師が彼らの息子グレゴリー・ジェイコブズの死を「早めて」その結果、窒息させたと主張している。両親は、外科医が移植手続を開始した時に、息子が正式に脳死と宣言されなかったと言う。損害賠償500万ドルを求めている。訴状で、「グレゴリー・ジェイコブズの意図的なトラウマまたは窒息がなかったら、彼は生きていたか、少なくとも、彼の生は延長しただろう」と言う。オハイオ州ベルヴューの家族は、息子が適切に治療されたなら「かなりの回復の相当な見込み」を持っていたであろうと主張している。
 両親は、ペンシルベニア州エリーのHamotメディカル・センターの医師とピッツバーグ器官回復と教育のためのセンター(CORE)の代表者を告発した。
 弁護士は「脳死で回復しないと言われ、臓器移植を承諾した文書にサインしたが、実際は脳死ではなかった」と言う。
 原告によると、器官除去の準備で生命維持が撤収されていた時に「遡及して」脳死は、次の日記録された。2007年のメディアとのインタビューにおいて、病院関係者は、記録された死亡時刻が誤りであったと認めた。しかし、それは記録のエラーであると言う。
 訴訟はまた、器官回復と教育のためのセンター(CORE)が、グレゴリー・ジェイコブズの器官を得ることから利益を得ていて、「当時、臓器の違法な調達により他の個人への転送と販売がなされ、支払ったお金の一部分がCOREに行った」と主張している。
 父親は「悪夢」のようだと言う。ショックで、両親は死の現場に立ち会っていない。母親は「死亡宣告の29分前、6時10分前に息子は切り取られた」と言う。民事時効直前に訴訟が起こされた。
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Parents' Hospital Lawsuit Says Teen Was 'Killed' For Organs
Doctors Admit Clerical Error, but Say Teen Would Not Have Recovered From Brain Damage
By SUSAN DONALDSON JAMES
March 6, 2009
http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=7017711&page=1

画像The parents of an 18-year-old who suffered a brain injury in a 2007 snowboarding accident say his doctors "intentionally killed" him to harvest his organs.
Suit Says Teen's Was 'Killed' For Organs
Gregory Jacobs' parents allege in a lawsuit that a medical team 'hastened' their son's death to harvest his organs. The teen, shown here his senior year, just a month before he died, suffered brain injuries in a snowboarding accident in 2007.
(Handout)

In the lawsuit filed this week in the U.S. District Court of Western Pennsylvania, Michael and Teresa Jacobs claim that doctors "hastened" their son Gregory Jacobs' death by delaying treatment and ultimately pulling his breathing tube, causing him to suffocate.

The couple said their son had not been formally declared brain dead when surgeons began the transplant procedure. They are seeking $5 million in damages.

"But for the intentional trauma or asphyxiation of Gregory Jacobs, he would have lived, or, at the very least, his life would have been prolonged," the lawsuit said.

The Bellevue, Ohio, family claim that if their son had been properly treated, he would have had a "significant chance of substantial recovery."

The parents have charged doctors at Hamot Medical Center in Erie, Pa., and a representative of the Center for Organ Recovery and Education (CORE) in Pittsburgh.
In prepared statements, both Hamot Medical Center and the organ center expressed condolences to the Jacobs family.

Hamot maintained that the treatment administered was "timely, appropriate and well-documented."

"Proper consent was received in order for his organs to be donated and the protocols that were followed were consistent with all established donation procedures," it read. "Any claims otherwise are completely baseless. While we have yet to receive formal notification of a lawsuit having been filed, we will vigorously defend against any accusations of wrongdoing."

The organ center also said charges against them were "baseless and untrue."

"As in all donation cases, CORE followed all regulated medical protocols in the case," its statement read.

Hit Head in Snowboarding Fall

Gregory Jacobs suffered a "closed head injury" after a fall while on a high school-sponsored skiing trip to Peek 'n Peak Ski Resort in Findley Lake, N.Y., March 8, 2007. He died five days later after being air-lifted to Hamot.

"Essentially, the family was told that Greg was brain dead and he would not recover and, therefore, they signed a document that agreed to an organ transplant," said the Jacobs' lawyer Dennis Boyle. "Greg was not, in fact, brain dead."

Brain Death Recording Error?

According to the plaintiffs, brain death was recorded the next day, "retroactively" as life support was being withdrawn in preparation for organ removal.

In an interview with media in 2007, hospital officials acknowledged that the recorded time of death was a mistake.

"We are absolutely certain that no retrieval of any organs took place until he was pronounced dead," Dr. James Pepicello said told Erie.com. "We are aware of a discrepancy in the operative record from Hamot. It is an error in documentation."

The coroner's office initially referred the death to the Erie County district attorney's office, according to Boyle, but it declined to prosecute after hospital officials "corrected" the time of death.

The suit also alleges that the Center for Organ Recovery and Education benefited by obtaining Gregory Jacobs' organs "for transfer and sale to other individuals, who then paid money, a portion of which went to CORE, for the wrongful procurement of the organs."

'It's Been a Nightmare,' Says Father

Several calls by ABCNews.com to the Jacobs family were not answered, but in an interview with media in July 2007, family members said they "wanted answers."

"It's been a nightmare," Mike Jacobs told Erie.com.

He said doctors told him Gregory Jacobs' head was "full of strokes. ... Half his head was stroked. ... The other part was stroked. They showed us on the [CT] scan. There was no hope."

"From the very first day that I was there and walked into the pre-op room, I was told organ donation makes death easier," he said.

The suit alleges Mike Jacobs was pressured into signing a do-not-resuscitate order and authorizing the organ transplant. The teen's heart, liver and kidney were donated.

As soon as the order was signed, the hospital began preparing Gregory Jacobs for organ donation, the lawsuit charges.

"In fact, [brain death] was never recorded and our experts say he did not meet any criteria for brain death," Boyle told ABCNews.com.

Gregory Jacobs' Parents Not Present at Death

The parents were "in shock" and not present at their son's death. The mother "seems to have been taken out of it [decision making] completely," said Boyle. "She wanted to be present but was told she couldn't be."

"They cut my son at ten to 6, 29 minutes before they pronounced him dead," Teresa Jacobs told Erie.com last year.

The Jacobses, whom their lawyer described as an "intact, close-knit working class family," have another son who is a junior in high school.

The lawsuit was filed two years -- almost to the day -- after the accident, when the statute of limitations on such a civil lawsuit closes.

"It took them a while to find an attorney, and it us took us a while to obtain medical records for independent review and educate ourselves on what was going on," Boyle said.

The Jacobses' case illustrates the painful decision to transplant organs from dying patients, one that is fraught with ethical questions.

"You don't treat someone as a donor before they are dead," said Dr. Arthur Caplan, chairman of the Department of Medical Ethics at University of Pennsylvania, who is not involved in the Jacobs case. "That's a big no-no."

Dead Donor Rule

"It's the dead donor rule to keep the public trust in place so people are not killed for parts," he told ABCNews.com.

But, he added that giving a patient a dire prognosis and signing a do-not-resuscitate order does not give the automatic green light for organ donation -- sometimes, patients and doctors don't communicate effectively.

"There can be a lot of tension managing the end of life," Caplan told ABCNews.com. "It's a gray area to manage the desire of the donor, and the family wanting to do everything they can think of in a hopeless situation."

"It's also murky. Families don't always hear what doctors are saying and doctors aren't always clear because they don't want to take away any hope," he said.

Doctors need to be "franker and blunter," he said. "Be kind, but don't sugarcoat things, otherwise people don't hear what is being said."

Families should appoint a lead decision-maker who can talk directly with the medical team.

"Groups can be very confusing and often people hear different things," he said.

Better medical protocols and training are also necessary to ensure that "patients are first, not the organs," he said.

"A donor card should not trump the managing of the dying person," he said. "Doctors have to be taught that. It is their primary duty to care for the patient."

The Jacobses' attorney said, "Some of the statements made by the doctors were susceptible to misinterpretation when they said he was brain dead."

But he still contends health officials moved too quickly to harvest Gregory Jacobs' organs.

Said Boyle, "The Jacobs[es] were always clear they wanted everything done for their son's recovery and they really didn't care if he was disabled or not."

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