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The Definition Of Death Essay

674 words - 3 pages

Fred Plum, a Neurologist and a professor at the New York Hospital, makes a connection between the loss of brainstem activity to cessation of essential functions of the brain including consciousness and the ability to breathe. To emphasize his point, he states, “Without a brainstem I am no longer a person. I am no more than a hopeless collection of organs, incapable of human vitality” (37-38). In addition, the Encyclopedia of Bioethics also notes that a person without a brainstem reaction “does not breathe, swallow, or blink” in response to surroundings (Post 1946). A website sponsored by many transplant foundations states that brain dead individuals undergo “complete and irreversible loss of ...view middle of the document...

” The presence of coronary and cerebral perfusion is important since it is related to systematic blood flow and is autonomously controlled by selective arteries even after circulatory arrest (415). In addition, they pointed out few cases in which recovery of circulation and, heart and brain functions called the Lazarus phenomenon were reported after “10 min of circulatory arrest in human beings”. However, physicians only wait for 75 s to 5 min to test irreversible cessation of brain functions and circulation, and do not give importance to presence of coronary and cerebral perfusion pressure (415). For example, a patient on a respirator is moved to the operating room where his respirator is removed, breathing stops, the surgical team waits for few minutes for breathing to resume. If not then the patient is declared dead. Now the real dilemma arises as can be seen-- after reconnecting to ventilator to preserve the organs, the patient starts breathing again (Verheije, Rady, and McGregor 414). In such a case, should a patient be called dead? Furthermore, Verheijde, Rady and McGregor proposed that since there is no “irreversible...

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