ROME, June 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A respected Brazilian neurologist is seeking to blow the lid off the “brain death” myth, saying it is being perpetuated to supply an international multi-billion-dollar transplant industry.
Doctor Cicero G. Coimbra, MD PhD, a neurologist and professor of neuroscience at the Federal University of São Paulo, Brazil, has also said recovery for comatose patients is often possible, but a tightly controlled medical establishment is not giving doctors and medical students the facts they need to “do the best they can” for their patients.
LifeSite sat down with Dr. Coimbra for an in-depth interview in Rome, during a May 20-21 conference on “Brain Death”: A Medicolegal Construct: Scientific & Philosophical Evidence, sponsored by the John Paul Academy for Human Life and Family.
In this interview (read full text below), Dr. Coimbra explains that the term “brain death” was coined in the 1960s, after the first successful human heart transplant “triggered a demand for transplantable vital organs to be harvested from patients” who were considered to be “hopelessly comatose” according to medical knowledge at that time.
There was “no preliminary scientific research” on the brain-death concept before the name was used, he said. But calling these patients “dead” enabled the medical community to overcome all of the legal hurdles associated with removing vital organs from these comatose patients.
Their main mistake, Dr. Coimbra argues, was to consider these patients “irreversibly” brain damaged.
By the 1980s, when organ transplants were performed around the world, medical researchers experimenting on animals discovered that when blood flow to the brain is reduced from the normal range to just 20-50 percent, the brain would “fall silent” — but was neither “dead” nor “irreversibly damaged.” By the end of the 1990s, this phenomenon — called “ischemic penumbra” — was demonstrated in humans, shattering the “brain death” myth.
The brain is silent but not dead, he said.
“Why is the ‘brain death’ theory still so prevalent, and what are students in medical school being taught about this?” LifeSite asked Dr. Coimbra.