A recent lawsuit claims that an organ donation network is responsible for pressuring hospitals and patients to harvest organs, even when patients show "clear signs" of brain activity.
Patrick McMahon, 50, an Air Force combat veteran from Iraq and Afghanistan, is a nurse practitioner who was recently fired from Richmond University Medical Center in Staten Island.
He is not suing the hospital but is instead suing the New York Organ Donor Network. He believes he was fired last November because he complained about the network's practices.
McMahon says the network hired sales and marketing personnel to coach transplant professionals to "lean on patients' emotionally vulnerable families" to have them sign a consent waiver, declaring the patient brain dead. In addition, the network developed a quota system, which penalized workers who failed to meet the network's goals.
McMahon cited four cases of organ transplanting while patients were still alive.
According to the news report describing this lawsuit, on November 13, a muscle paralyzer was used on a patient who was "moving and jerking" during her initial chest incision. McMahon apparently "vehemently objected," but the network went forward with the operation.
Another episode involved the pressuring of a Nassau doctor to declare a patient brain dead, despite his insistence otherwise.
In a third case out of the Bronx, examinations McMahon conducted showing brain activity were disregarded and his requests for further testing were denied.
A final incident out of Brooklyn involved the processing of paperwork after the patient had responded to pain-stimuli tests.
McMahon was fired two days after the Staten Island surgery and ten days after complaining to the network's president and CEO.