The New York Personal Injury Blog

Whistleblower Alleges Shady Organ Harvesting; Could Lead to More Lawsuits

Patrick McMahon, 50, was labeled a troublemaker. In fact, he only lasted four months as a transplant coordinator with the nonprofit New York Organ Donor Network. In his brief time there, he alleges that he witnessed families being pressured to consent to organ donation, premature declarations of brain death, and even a quota system implemented upon the employees, reports the New York Post.

McMahon’s lawsuit cites four cases as examples of alleged malfeasance by the nonprofit. In one, a 19-year-old victim of a car accident was declared brain dead despite the man trying to breathe and showing signs of brain activity. In another, he claims that the family of a woman that had previously received an organ donation was pressured to pay it forward.

The misconduct wasn't limited to lower-level employees, either, according to claims. McMahon alleges misconduct committed by the director, Michael Goldstein, and by the president and CEO, Helen Irving. The organization also allegedly hired marketing and sales professionals to tailor workers' pitches based on the families' demographics.

For the families' part, two families have already come forward and stated that they did not believe that there was any chance that their relatives would recover. They stated that they were not pressured to consent, though they were asked repeatedly due to the time sensitive nature of organ harvesting. Yet McMahon's lawyer argued that the families only felt this way because they had not been provided sufficient and accurate information on their relatives' condition.

Though McMahon's lawsuit is based on employment law claims, there could also be personal injury and wrongful death claims if his allegations have merit. Hospitals are required to obtain informed consent prior to harvesting organs or performing any other major operations on a patient. Informed consent is impossible if the families were provided insufficient or inaccurate information regarding their loved ones' condition and chances of survival.

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