R.V. Doon

The Case of the Whistlebower versus Sherlock Holmes

I read an article back in September about a Nurse Practitioner, Patrick McMahon, filing charges against the organ donation network in New York. He claimed the network’s staffers pressured hospital staff to declare patients brain dead, and that the network hired coaches to train hospital staffers in how to be more persuasive when asking for a donation.

I couldn’t help but admire him because even as he blew the whistle on what he saw as wrong practices, he knew the negative publicity would slam him. Yes, he got slam-dunked. Apparently, some people felt he was only a nurse and not qualified to judge the decisions of doctors. He gave several examples of what he observed, and I found one especially disturbing.

In November 2011, a woman admitted to Staten Island University Hospital after a drug overdose was declared brain dead and her organs were about to be harvested when McMahon noticed that she was being given “a paralyzing anesthetic” because her body was still jerking.

A paralyzing anesthetic subdues a person and stops all movement, but they can hear and think.  He hints if she was really brain dead would she need such a drug? McMahon is a NP and before making such charges, I’m sure he checked the medical records before going public. At least I hope he did. It will be some time before the case goes to court.

While I realize organ donation has saved lives, does that mean we should dismiss charges of people so disgusted by what they’ve seen from the inside that they have no recourse but to blow the whistle? Another thing I’d like to point out that’s peculiar to nurses.  Nurses have a strange mindset; we self report incidents that we know will get us fired. We’re professionals and we care about patients because they’re vulnerable. That’s why Mr. McMahon’s story bothered me.

As a nurse, I had to attend CE classess on organ donation where it was routine to discuss ways to tactfully ask grieving family members for their loved ones organs. So, I don’t find his charges of “coaching” to be odd. I think its common. I took part in a few organ donations, but only had one that was hellish. An abused toddler transferred by Life Flight as an organ donor. Thankfully, the parents didn’t get away with murder by signing him up to be a total organ donor. It came close, too close, and I had nightmares about it.

Last Thursday, I watched the TV show Elementary starring Jonny Miller and Lucy Lieu. I’ve enjoyed the show, but this scene creeped me out. The scene opened with the Sherlock character sitting astride a corpse and choking it. Then he took pictures of the bruising with his phone. Sherlock then turned another corpse over on its stomach and then proceeded to choke and try to snap the neck. He explains to his disgusted side kick, Watson, that its not corpse abuse. It’s important to his work which is solving crimes. The really low point came when he added the corpses wouldn’t care because they had donated their bodies to MEDICAL SCIENCE.

Hello, Sherlock and show writers. What the Sherlock character was doing isn’t medical science. I wondered if anyone besides me picked up on that? I wonder how many potential organ donors or whole body donors saw that episode and said, “Nah, Honey, I don’t want to be an organ donor anymore.”

Why am I comparing an actor in a TV show to a nurse practitioner in a hospital with real organ donors? Sadly, I suspect more people would believe what the actor was doing fell under the realm of medical science while the claims of the nurse whistleblower is fiction.


3 thoughts on “The Case of the Whistlebower versus Sherlock Holmes

  1. Servet

    i just want to say that ASR and khushi are made for each other (even in real life) ,asr iz so FIT! i have to say smeoone iz funny hello hi bye bye lavanya is pretty and angali BUT THEY TAKING THE DRAMA TO FAR THEY TRYING TO MAKE IT LONGER SO THEY HAVE TO WORK ON THAT OTHER WISE IT THE BEST DRAMA I’VE EVER SEEEN .

  2. admin Post author


    I love the BBC Sherlock but they are forcing me to fast! I thought I’d try the new one out. I need my crime fixes and British accents any way I can get them.

  3. T. Scipio

    This is precisely why I am not registered as an organ donor. It sounds noble in principal, but I have heard some disturbing stories regarding this. One in particular from someone I know who was a navy corpmen who left the service and briefly went to work for a company that provides such organ harvesting. He left because he could not stand the way they were like vultures circling a kill and that had they only cared about getting organs, regardless of how the family felt. If I am concious I will decide to donate my organs, and if not tough. I don’t mean for that to sound heartless, but I do not want my life curtailed or my family hurt because of things like this.

    Second point, how could you watch Elementary? As a longtime Sherlock Holmes fan I say it is a travesty. Worse it is a cynical, profit driven attempt by an American network to cash in on the popularity of the BBC series. But they have to dumb it down into ANOTHER CBS procedural and they have to stick it in the US because apparently American viewers can’t take a series set in London with two Brits in the lead. Watch Sherlock on BBC and don’t waste your time or encourage Elementary with ratings. Just my opinion though.

%d bloggers like this: