Va. man who was declared dead is not Shooting victim scheduled as organ donor but breathes


NEWPORT NEWS, Va. -- A man who had been pronounced dead and whose body was placed on support systems to maintain vital organs for transplant was found to be alive Friday night when doctors prepared to remove those organs.

Henry Edgar Kaiser, 35, had been found shot about 8: 20 p.m. Wednesday at his home.

He was taken to Riverside Regional Medical Center, where he underwent emergency surgery that night.

He had remained in extremely critical condition since.

About 10 a.m. Friday, however, he appeared to have succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead.

At that point, said police spokesman Pete Edgette, a murder investigation was begun.

In the meantime, Kaiser's family had decided to donate his organs. They passed that request on to doctors, who placed Kaiser on life support.

"As a result, he was connected to life support systems to keep his organs functioning," Edgette said.

Recipients of the organs were identified and alerted.

But at 7 p.m. Friday, "when he was taken off the life support machines in an effort to remove his organs," Edgette said, "Mr. Kaiser continued to breathe."

Doctors said Kaiser's breathing and brain activity were "minimal," Edgette said, but "it is our understanding that they have reversed the declaration of death."

Police are investigating leads in the shooting, Edgette said, but have no suspects.

It's possible the attack was connected to Kaiser's efforts to sell a 1984 Porsche, police said, although the car was still at his residence when he was found dead.

As for Kaiser's "recovery," Edgette said neither he nor other officers he had spoken to, some with decades of experience, could recall a similar series of events.

"It's bizarre to say the least," he said.

Pub Date: 9/28/97

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