NYDN - Doctors at a Syracuse hospital came within inches of harvesting the organs of a live woman who woke on the operating table, despite previous reports by nurses indicating she was alive. Doctors at St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center mistakenly ruled that Colleen S. Burns, 41, had suffered a cardiac death. The mother of three from North Syracuse had overdosed on Xanax, Benadryl and a muscle relaxant but had not died, only slipped into a deep coma.
She was mistakenly declared brain dead by hospital staff, with the tragic news presented to Burns’ family who gave doctors permission to take her off life support and harvest her organs. One day before Burns’ organs were to be removed, a nurse noticed something eerie about the patient, a sign someone without a medical degree may even jump to see. Her toes curled from the simple reflex test of running a finger along her foot.
An investigation by the Health Department determined this and several other signs to come were shockingly ignored by doctors. Then, just before surgery, Burns’ nostrils were seen flared as though she was breathing independent of her respirator. Her lips and tongue were seen moving as well. Despite these signs, a nurse injected Burns with a sedative called Ativan just 20 minutes later, according to hospital records.
Just when the surgery was to begin, Burns’ eyes opened and gazed up at the bright lights hanging over her. It took that final sign to call it off.
Worst way to wake up? Used to think it was with a bone crushing, ear splitting “Never drinking again” hangover, puke and Papa John’s sauce on your shirt, cell phone and wallet missing, and an obese chick next to you in bed. That was my gold standard of rock bottom. But I’m willing to reconsider that position after Colleen Burns woke up on a hospital operating table surrounded by doctors in lab coats and surgical masks preparing to stab her with a razor sharp scalpel and pull her fucking liver out. That could be the worst.
Listen I hate lawsuits. I hate people looking to make a quick buck at the expense of others by just suing the shit out of everyone they don’t like. Bogging down the court system and shit. Having said that if you wake up as doctors prepare to harvest your entire set of internal organs you reserve the right to sue literally every single person in a 10 mile radius of you for everything they are worth. Like if you are an employed surgeon with a medical degree I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to expect you to be able to tell if I am alive or dead. That’s pretty reasonable. Do I have no pulse and my body is decomposing? Ok I’m dead. Am I breathing and my toes are curling? Probably don’t cut me open and take my lungs out. Day 1 stuff.