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Donor group pressured doctors, suit says

Sept. 26, 2012 at 4:22 PM   |   Comments

NEW YORK, Sept. 26 (UPI) -- A New York nurse practitioner says in a lawsuit an organ transplant group pressured hospital staffers to declare patients brain-dead for faster harvesting.

The lawsuit by U.S. Air Force combat veteran and nurse practitioner Patrick McMahon, 50, filed Tuesday in Manhattan Supreme Court, claims the New York Organ Donor Network fired him as a transplant coordinator after four months for protesting the practice of persuading hospital personnel to speed decisions so body parts could be obtained, the New York Post reported Wednesday.

McMahon's suit cites four examples of improper organ harvesting, including a 19-year-old man admitted in 2011 to Nassau University Medical Center after a car accident. The man was still trying to breathe and showed signs of brain activity, the suit charges, but was declared brain-dead by doctors after pressure from network officials, including director Michael Goldstein, who allegedly said during a conference call, "This kid is dead, you got that?"

The suit also says "coaches" were hired to train network staffers to be more persuasive about organ donation when speaking with grieving families.

"I have been in Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan in combat. I worked on massive brain injuries, trauma, gunshot wounds, IEDs. I have seen worse cases than this and the victims recover," McMahon said of the car accident victim.

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