Girl in botched transplant is brain dead, doctors say

I’m sure that mos of you have heard about this by now, but there’s one line in particular that piqued my interest:

How and why does life support ruin the organs?

IANAD, so my understanding might be off, but here’s the problem as near as I can tell:

The life support they’re talking about is a heart-lung machine. Now, in order to keep the blood from clotting in the machinery they had to add anti-coagulants. These increase the risk of internal bleeding - such as occurred in this girl’s brain. Such bleeding can occur elsewhere in the body, also causing damage.

Also, the pumping action of the machine can damage blood cells. These dead and mangled cells must be cleaned from the body - which is done by the kidneys. They can only handle so much cellular wreckage at a time.

Also, anti-rejection drugs - which she must have been on high doses of to keep her alive even for those few days - are toxic to the liver and kidneys.

When an organ like a liver or the kidneys starts to deteriorate, all sorts of bodily poisons start build up, causing damage throughout the body.

The result is that, while you can tolerate the heart-lung machine or the drugs for a brief period of time, beyond a certain point the damage snowballs.

And if I’m wrong on any of the above I’m sure someone will be along presently to correct me.

I thought it was the spleen that had the job of disposing of dead blood cells?

Too bad her original doctor who screwed up isn’t one of the ones who walked out because he didn’t like his malpractice insurance rates.

:frowning: I just heard on NBC they took her off the life support.

So sad, such a sad unnecessary mistake…