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This book, then, also questions common assumptions about the place of bioethics in medicine. This book discusses if the advent of bioethics has distorted and limited the possibilities for harnessing medicine for social progress. It challenges historical scholarship of medicine to be more curious about how medical knowledge can work as a potentially innovative source of values.

The Waking Brain and the Discourse of Consciousness. Q: In the case of Jahi McMath, the argument is being made that families — not physicians — should be able to determine when their loved one should be considered dead. However, you write that the current "bright line" is needed in defining brain death. Why isn't it feasible to give families a greater say? Magnus: The line between life and death is legally, ethically and medically important.

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It determines when someone has full constitutional protections under the law, when someone's will takes effect, whether someone is still married and when physicians are obligated to provide life-sustaining medical treatments. It also determines the line where it is allowable to procure organs.

Without brain death, there would be little to no cadaveric organ procurement in the United States, leading to thousands of deaths every year. It is important that these lines be drawn in ways that are medically and philosophically defensible. Imagine if we decided that parents could decide when their children are mature enough to be allowed the status of adulthood.

Brain Death exam

Some year-olds would never get to vote or make decisions, while some year-olds would. Instead, we draw a clear boundary at age If a religious minority decides that patients are adults at age 13, it does not follow that the law should be different for them. Similarly, there needs to be a bright line drawn by professionals who can reliably and accurately distinguish between life and death, as we distinguish between child and adult.

While our hearts go out to the family of Jahi McMath, it is clear that they are hoping for outcomes that are not achievable. Jahi McMath will never recover — that is a medical certainty. But her family remain convinced that she will improve. Their conviction has no bearing on the physical and medical realities that should govern the drawing of the line between life and death. Q: Is there something that hospitals and physicians should be doing that would help them better explain brain death to patients' families and deal with the ramifications?

Magnus: First, the better communication is between health-care providers and patients' families, the more trust is maintained in that relationship, the more likely it is that families will accept the reality and the explanation that their loved one has passed away. Second, we should be much more careful with our terminology.

Referring to mechanical ventilation as "life support" and the withdrawal as "withdrawing life support" implies — incorrectly — that the patient is alive. Shop Books. Read an excerpt of this book! Add to Wishlist.

USD Sign in to Purchase Instantly. Explore Now. Buy As Gift. Overview Brain death-the condition of a non-functioning brain, has been widely adopted around the world as a definition of death since it was detailed in a Report by an Ad Hoc Committee of Harvard Medical School faculty in It also remains a focus of controversy and debate, an early source of criticism and scrutiny of the bioethics movement. Death before Dying: History, Medicine, and Brain Death looks at the work of the Committee in a way that has not been attempted before in terms of tracing back the context of its own sources-the reasoning of it Chair, Henry K Beecher, and the care of patients in coma and knowledge about coma and consciousness at the time.

LEAP 1140 (Sections 1-7) Drs. Wood, Ownby, & Borup: What it Means to be Brain Dead/Brain-death

That history requires re-thinking the debate over brain death that followed which has tended to cast the Committee's work in ways this book questions. This book, then, also questions common assumptions about the place of bioethics in medicine. This book discusses if the advent of bioethics has distorted and limited the possibilities for harnessing medicine for social progress. It challenges historical scholarship of medicine to be more curious about how medical knowledge can work as a potentially innovative source of values.


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About the Author Gary S. Belkin, M.

Modern Death: How Medicine Changed the End of Life | Anesthesiology | ASA Publications

Table of Contents 1. Strange Business 2. The Justification: Beecher's Ethics 3. The Law 4.