Parents Accuse Hospital of Killing Son to Harvest Organs

An Ohio couple filed a lawsuit Wednesday accusing doctors of removing a breathing tube from their 18-year-old son, who had suffered a brain injury while skiing, in order to harvest his organs.

Michael and Teresa Jacobs of Bellevue, Ohio, parents of Gregory Jacobs, maintain that their son’s death was caused, not by his injury, but by doctors removing his breathing tube and administering unspecified medication in preparation for organ removal.

The charges were filed against Pittsburgh’s Hamot Medical Center doctors and a representative of the Center For Organ Recovery and Education (CORE).

The parents also say the CORE representative directed that Jacobs’ organs be removed in the absence of a valid consent.

"But for the intentional trauma or asphyxiation of Gregory Jacobs, he would have lived, or, at the very least, his life would have been prolonged," says the lawsuit.  "Gregory was alive before defendants started surgery and suffocated him in order to harvest his organs," which included his heart, liver and kidneys.

The suit maintains that Jacobs "experienced neither a cessation of cardiac activity nor a cessation of brain activities when surgeons began the procedures for removing his vital organs."

The parents filed the suit in the U. S. District Court in Pittsburgh seeking more than $5 million for their son’s pain and suffering, medical bills, funeral expenses, and punitive damages.

The lawsuit comes only weeks after neurologist Dr. Cicero Coimbra told a Rome "brain death" conference that, "Diagnostic protocols for brain death actually induce death in patients who could recover to normal life by receiving timely and scientifically based therapies."  ( )

Coimbra referred to the so-called "apnea test," whereby living patients who cannot breathe on their own have their ventilator removed, and are deemed "brain dead" if after ten minutes patients do not resume breathing.  The problem with the test, said Coimbra, is that otherwise treatable patients sustain irreversible brain damage by oxygen deprivation during that ten minutes.

See related coverage:

"Brain Death" Test Causes Brain Necrosis and Kills Patients: Neurologist to Rome Conference

"Brain Death" as Criteria for Organ Donation is a "Deception": Bereaved Mother

"Brain Death" is Life, Not Death: Neurologists, Philosophers, Neonatologists, Jurists, and Bioethicists Unanimous at Conference

Doctor to Tell Brain Death Conference Removing Organs from "Brain Dead" Patients Tantamount to Murder

New England Journal of Medicine: ‘Brain Death’ is not Death – Organ Donors are Alive

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  • I hope they win their suit. I have had to change my own position on organ harvesting from what I have learned here.

  • Ann

    How horrible for this family. I often fear this is happening more often than is reported. I pray this lawsuit is won by the family, that people’s hearts will be changed, that a return to life will be fostered within our communities.

  • Lucky Mom of 7

    I’d like to think that there are some circumstances in which harvesting organs is appropriate. Imagine the damage done to legitimate organ harvesting… I know I’m going to get out my driver’s license and take the organ donor sticker off.


  • wgsullivan

    A priest that was an urologist before becoming a priest gave several examples of the rush to death by health professionals at a conference we attended 2 weeks ago. He has changed the organ donor stipulation on his license from willing to not willing.

  • ourfamily

    A few years ago I did some research about organ donation and concluded that the risk
    of being killed by an organ-hungry doctor was too great. My husband and I and our two young adult children all had “organ donor” removed from our driver’s licenses, which in this state, cost us money to do (and got a lot of raised eyebrows and snide comments). I am not opposed to using the organs of a DEAD person to save the life of another person. The problem comes when life-saving measures are denied to the injured on the determination of one doctor in an emergency room setting! I don’t want an emergency room doctor to determine whether my life is worth saving. I want my family members to make that determination, along with a lot of thought, information, counsel by a priest, etc. Too often the decision is made in haste by a medical person completely unfamiliar with the family or our values regarding life. I am NOT against organ donations – far from it. I am against exactly what this article is about – killing a living person for his/her organs.