Your brain keeps functioning for a while AFTER you die, raising new questions about organ donation and medical “harvesting” while patients are still aware

A frightening new study suggests that your consciousness keeps functioning for a while after your heart has stopped beating, and it’s raising some serious questions about the concept of organ donation.

According to Dr. Sam Parnia, who has been researching consciousness following death, people in the first phase of death might still experience a form of consciousness. He has studied cardiac arrest cases in the U.S. and Europe, and he said that people who have survived a cardiac arrest were able to later describe accurately what went on around them after their heart had stopped beating.

For example, he reports that they were able to describe watching nurses and doctors working around them, recounting full conversations held by those in the room and what happened visually – all things they would have had no other way of knowing about.

Although the time of death may be based on the moment when a person’s heart stops beating, he believes that people aren’t fully dead at that point. Now, he is studying what happens to the brain when a person is in cardiac arrest and how long consciousness continues after your heart stops beating.

Could you feel your organs being cut out of your body?

It’s terrifying to think that you could be “trapped” in your own dead body while your brain is still working, even if it’s just for a short amount of time. It would be upsetting enough to spend your last moments aware of your loved ones’ devastation as you pass and hearing your doctor pronounce you dead, but it would be even worse if you could feel as doctors started cutting you open and ripping out your organs – yet that could well be the experience of organ donors.

Of course, they don’t use anesthesia when they do this as the person is dead – or so their death certificate states. If your brain is still working, however, it means you’ll spend your final minutes on Earth feeling every slice as doctors eagerly harvest your organs.

Unfortunately, the medical industry pushes doctors to harvest organs given the huge profits they can generate. Just one organ transplant can bring in millions of dollars in revenue, from the charge for the procedure itself to the drugs the recipient will need and the lifetime of follow-up doctor visits. Not bad for something they get for “free” – as long as they act quickly after a person dies so the organ will still be viable. That’s why people are quickly declared dead in some cases so their organs can immediately be harvested.

People often make the complicated choice of becoming an organ donor out of a desire to help other people, and it’s a beautiful sentiment to think that something you will no longer need could extend another person’s life and give them more time with their loved ones, but what if these organs are being taken while you’re still conscious?

On one hand, it’s clear that more research needs to be done into the point at which people lose consciousness and are truly dead in every way, and that needs to be considered in transplant protocol. However, that brings us to an even bigger problem, which is the fact that the organ transplant profit machine motivates doctors to cut corners and carry out medical violence. When millions of dollars in potential profit are at stake, people simply can’t be counted on to do the right thing.

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