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‘It helps to help’: Organ donor’s mom urges more families to say yes to donation

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After doctors broke the news to Kelly Patterson that there was nothing left they could do to save her son, Steven, after he suffered massive head injuries in a car accident, they asked if she would donate his organs.

It was four in the morning on a September day, two years ago, and the Nova Scotia woman was numb, exhausted and overwhelmed.

But in that horrible moment, Patterson said yes — she’d already had several days to think about organ donation as Steven lay lifeless in a hospital bed.

It could’ve gone differently.

“If I had 10 minutes to think about it, or the approach was wrong, absolutely I would’ve backed off in a minute,” Patterson said from the Berwick, N.S., home that’s adorned with family photos and memorials to Steven.

“We’re talking about my son, my baby.”

Her decision meant his 26-year-old heart, kidneys, liver and pancreas were donated to five people waiting for an organ transplant. Pneumonia had set in while Steven was in hospital, so his lungs could not be used.

Just 16 organ donors in N.S. last year

But even though she’s a strong supporter of organ donation, Patterson’s decision to consent was still a struggle — and helps to explain why there’s a national organ shortage.

Most Canadians say they support organ donation but only about 20 per cent register. And only a fraction of them actually become organ donors when they die.

The national rate of organ donation is 20.9 people per million. In 2016, 4,500 people were on an organ transplant list, but only 2,835 organs were transplanted. That year, 260 people died — five Canadians a week.

Nova Scotia used to have a strong track record in organ donation but has fallen behind, according to Dr. Stephen Beed, the medical director for the Nova Scotia organ and tissue donation program.

Dr. Stephen Beed is an intensive care physician and head of Nova Scotia’s organ and tissue donation program. As Nova Scotia’s only donation doctor, he supports ER doctors and cardiologists in identifying whether a patient is a candidate for organ donation. (Elizabeth Chiu/CBC)

There were only 16 organ donors last year, down from 26 in 2011. This year, however, is showing improvement with 20 donors as of Tuesday.

The news is urgent for 125 Nova Scotians who are on a list waiting for an organ transplant. So far this year, eight people have died waiting for the call that never came. 

So why is there such a critical organ shortage? 

Only a tiny portion of patients who die in hospital are candidates for organ donation.

Patients become organ donors in one of two ways: when their brain has died (neurological death) or when their heart has stopped (cardiocirculatory death).

They may include people who have suffered severe traumatic brain injuries, a brain aneurysm, a massive stroke or a heart attack, or someone who has drowned. In all cases, they are injuries the patient will not survive.

Missing a ‘rare’ opportunity

Beed said the biggest problem stems from the fact organ donors are overlooked in critical moments. Emergency room physicians and cardiologists often don’t recognize the life they’ve tried to save could also be an organ donor, he said.

Without that on their radar, there’s no referral to the organ donation team.

“These are rare opportunities, and missing a single one is a big deal,” said Beed. 

Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia lead the country in organ donation rates and have programs that feature mandatory referral and hospital donation specialists to ensure donation opportunities are identified.

Beed also works at a hospital in Saskatchewan, which is trying to boost its organ donation rate. Based on the success of other provinces, he’s advocating for a rebooted program in Nova Scotia that creates a network of intensive care physicians — acting as donation doctors — to support health professionals in regional hospitals provincewide.

He hopes Nova Scotia can return to its place as “the best or pretty near the best” donor province within five to 10 years.

If the province matched the highest organ donation rates in the world, it would have 40 to 50 donors annually, he said.

Families can overturn consent

Many organ donors suffer an unexpected death that leaves families making a life-saving decision after receiving devastating news. The conversation between families and the organ donation team can last hours, but once consent is given, work begins immediately to get the viable organ to a matching donor.

Patterson understands why some families say no.

“You’re brought in the hospital, and told that your child or your mother or your father’s not going to make it — that’s all you can bear to hear,” Patterson said.

Kelly Patterson’s son Steven (left) died in 2016. She donated his organs and since his death, she and her eldest son, Ryan (right), have decided to become organ donors. (Submitted by Kelly Patterson)

“Who’s thinking about what you can do for others? Who’s thinking about organ donation?” 

Families have the final say whether to consent to donation, even in cases when a patient is registered as a donor. 

About 12 families decline donation each year in Nova Scotia.

Beed said the organ donation team’s job is to “enable our families to make their best decision on their worst day.” Consent helps them craft a legacy for their loved one that they’ll carry forward, he said. 

Leaving a legacy behind

Nine years ago, Pat Popwell of Reserve Mines saw a need to start a support group for people in Cape Breton who need or have received a lung transplant. 

Pat Popwell is a retired nurse and started a lung transplant support group in Cape Breton. (Pat Popwell)

The retired nurse and a registered cardiopulmonary technologist thinks a donor’s wishes should be honoured and not overturned by families whose emotions are running high.

“It’s the worst time ever to make a decision because you want to hold on to them but you want to let them go.”

Even family members of people who need a transplant can be stricken with fear, she said.

Popwell praises Patterson’s decision to change lives through donation. She’s watched group members struggle with the most basic thing in life: taking a deep breath. 

Consenting to donation is an act of grace, courage and selflessness, she said.

“I would love to have that legacy.” 

A grateful recipient reflects

Patterson had never talked to Steven about organ donation. She didn’t think there was a need — he was in his 20s, healthy, and strong. So she had to make the decision for him.

She now urges all her family and friends to have a conversation about organ donation so if tragedy strikes, more families will say yes without having to endure agonizing decision-making at a traumatic time.

Her decision still helps her cope with grief.

She’s overcome with tears at a letter from one of Steven’s organ recipients. The man received one of Steven’s kidneys on his 53rd birthday — the day after Steven died.

“I am here today because they took the time to make a selfless decision to share their loss to help another grateful person,” wrote the married father and grandfather.

Kelly Patterson treasures this letter from one of Steven’s organ recipients who received a kidney. (Elizabeth Chiu/CBC)

Patterson finds some solace in that gratitude.

“Knowing that Steven saved the lives of five people, not only five people — five families, five wives or husbands, daughters, sons, grandchildren — that helps,” she said. “It helps to help.” 

Beed has worked many Christmases in Nova Scotia and he’s noticed a trend. A potential organ donor typically emerges over the holiday season.

“It’ll probably happen this year,” he said ruefully. 

“We need to at least make sure if it happens, we give that family the chance to help someone through donation.”

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Bill Gates: Third Shot May Be Needed to Combat Coronavirus Variants

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With more than 40 million Americans having received at least the first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, a third dose may be needed to prevent the spread of new variants of the disease, Bill Gates told CBS News Tuesday.

Gates’ comments come amid growing concern that the current vaccines are not effective against the more contagious Brazilian and South African variants.

Pfizer and Moderna have stated that their vaccines are 95% and 99% effective, respectively, against the initial strain of COVID. However, some scientists have questioned those statements. Additionally, the World Health Organization and vaccine companies have conceded that the vaccines do not prevent people from being infected with COVID or from transmitting it, but are only effective at reducing symptoms.

Gates told CBS Evening News:

“The discussion now is do we just need to get a super high coverage of the current vaccine, or do we need a third dose that’s just the same, or do we need a modified vaccine?”

U.S. vaccine companies are looking at making modifications, which Gates refers to as “tuning.”

People who have had two shots may need to get a third shot and people who have not yet been vaccinated would need the modified vaccine, explained Gates. When asked whether the coronavirus vaccine would be similar to the flu vaccine, which requires yearly boosters, Gates couldn’t rule that out. Until the virus is eradicated from all humans, Gates said, additional shots may be needed in the future.

AstraZeneca in particular has a challenge with the variant,” Gates explained. “And the other two, Johnson & Johnson and Novavax, are slightly less effective, but still effective enough that we absolutely should get them out as fast as we can while we study this idea of tuning the vaccine.”

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is funding the studies being conducted in Brazil and South Africa, CBS News said. The foundation has also invested in the AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and the Novavax vaccines, which are being tested against new variants. Once the AstraZeneca vaccine is approved, the Global Alliance for Vaccine Initiative or GAVI, founded by Gates, will distribute it globally.

“Gates continues to move the goalposts,” said Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., chairman and chief legal counsel of Children’s Health Defense. “Meanwhile the strategies he and others have promoted are obliterating the global economy, demolishing the middle class, making the rich richer and censoring vaccine safety advocates, like me.”

Kennedy said that the exclusive focus on vaccines has prevented the kind of progress required to actually address and recover from the pandemic:

“From the pandemic’s outset, clear-headed people familiar with the challenges inherent in the vaccine model have understood that the path out of crisis would require multiple steps. Those steps would need to include the development and/or identification of therapeutic drugs, the sharing of information among doctors to hone improved treatment models that reduce infection mortality rates below those for flu, and the kind of broad-spectrum long-term herd immunity that protects against mutant strains and that only derives from natural infection.”

Instead, Gates and vaccine makers are proposing a lifetime of boosters, supporting insufficient testing to determine safety and failing to address the inadequate monitoring of vaccine injuries, Kennedy said.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Children’s Health Defense.

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Young nurse suffers from hemorrhage and brain swelling after second dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine

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(Natural News) A 28-year-old healthcare worker from the Swedish American Hospital, in Beloit, Wisconsin was recently admitted to the ICU just five days after receiving a second dose of Pfizer’s experimental mRNA vaccine. The previously healthy young woman was pronounced brain dead after cerebral angiography confirmed a severe hemorrhage stroke in her brain stem.

Her family members confirmed that she was “breaking out in rashes” after the vaccine. She also suffered from sudden migraine headaches, and got “sick” after taking the second dose of the vaccine. At the very end, she lost the ability to speak and went unconscious. The migraines, nausea, and loss of speech were all symptoms of a brain bleed and brain swelling, something her family did not understand at the time, and something nobody would expect after vaccination.

While on life support, neurologists used angiography to image the damage inside the brain. They found a subarachnoid hemorrhage, whereas a bulging blood vessel burst in the brain, bleeding out in the space between the brain and the tissue covering the brain. The ensuing swelling cut off oxygen to the brain and caused brain death. On February 10, 2021, Sarah reportedly had “no brain activity.” Some of the woman’s organs are now being procured, so they can be donated to other people around the world.

Doctors warn FDA about COVID vaccines causing autoimmune attacks in the heart and brain

Experimental COVID-19 vaccines may cause inflammation along the cardiovascular system, leading to heart attack and/or stroke. This serious issue was brought forth to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by Dr. J. Patrick Whelan, M.D., Ph.D. and further confirmed by cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr. Hooman Noorchashm, M.D., Ph.D. The two doctors warned that a recently-infected patient who is subject to COVID-19 vaccination is likely to suffer from autoimmune attacks along the ACE-2 receptors present in the heart, and in the microvasculature of the brain, liver and kidney. If viral antigens are present in the tissues of recipients at the time of vaccination, the vaccine-augmented immune response will turn the immune system against those tissues, causing inflammation that can lead to blood clot formation.

This severe adverse event is likely cause of death for the elderly who are vaccinated despite recently being infected. There is no adequate screening process to ensure that this autoimmune attack doesn’t occur. The elderly are not the only people vulnerable to vaccine injury and death. Pfizer’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine could be the main cause behind the sudden death of Sarah Sickles, a 28-year-old nurse from Wisconsin. The Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System has captured five permanent disabilities in Wisconsin, 58 ER visits, and eleven deaths in just one month. This is the first case in Wisconsin of someone under 44 years of age suffering from severe COVID-19 vaccine side effects and death. There are now more than 1,170 deaths recorded in the U.S. related to the experimental mRNA vaccines, a reality that the FDA and CDC continue to ignore.

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Powering hypersonic weapons: US armed forces eyeing dangerous 5G tech

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(Natural News) Much of the conversation surrounding the benefits of 5G is geared toward the consumer side of the technology. People will be able to download videos at lightning speed and will be more connected than ever, proponents claim, although there are serious questions regarding its safety. However, some of the most important 5G applications are not civil at all – the technology will be used extensively in the military domain.

Some of its military uses are outlined in the Defense Applications of 5G Network Technology report, which was published by the Defense Science Board. This federal committee gives scientific advice to the Pentagon. Their report states: “The emergence of 5G technology, now commercially available, offers the Department of Defense the opportunity to take advantage, at minimal cost, of the benefits of this system for its own operational requirements.”

The 5G commercial network that is being built by private companies right now can be used by the American military for a much lower cost than if the network had been set up exclusively for military purposes.

Military experts expect the 5G system to play a pivotal role in using hypersonic weapons. For example, it can be used for new missiles that bear nuclear warheads and travel at speeds superior to Mach 5. These hypersonic weapons, which travel at five times the speed of sound and move a mile per second, will be flying at high altitudes on unpredictable flight paths, making them as hard to guide as they will be to intercept.

Huge quantities of data need to be gathered and transmitted in a very short period in order to maneuver these warheads on variable trajectories and allow them to change direction in milliseconds to avoid interceptor missiles.

5G for defense

This type of technology is also needed to activate defenses should we be attacked by a weapon of this type; 5G automatic systems could theoretically handle decisions that humans won’t have enough time to make on their own. Military bases and even cities will have less than a minute to react to incoming hypersonic missiles, and 5G will make it easier to process real time data on trajectories for decision-making.

There are also important uses of this technology in combat. 5G’s ability to simultaneously link millions of transceivers will undoubtedly facilitate communication among military personnel and allow them to transmit photos, maps and other vital information about operations in progress at dizzying speeds to improve situational awareness.

The military can also take advantage of the high-frequency and short-wavelength millimeter wave spectrum used by 5G. Its short range means that it is well suited for smart military bases and command posts because the signal will not propagate too far, making it less likely that enemies will be able to detect it.

When it comes to special forces and secret services, the benefits of 5G are numerous. Its speed and connectivity will allow espionage systems to reach unprecedented levels of efficiency. It will also make drones more dangerous by allowing them to identify and target people using facial recognition and other methods.

Like all technology, 5G will also make us highly vulnerable. The network itself could become an attractive target for cyber-attacks and other acts of war being carried out with cutting-edge weaponry. In fact, the 5G network is already viewed as critical infrastructure and is being carefully protected before it is even fully built.

While the focus on 5G’s dangers to human health and the environment is absolutely warranted, it is also important not to lose sight of the military implications of 5G. After all, it is not just the United States that is developing this technology for military purposes; our enemies, like China and other countries, are also making great strides in this realm.

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