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Lack of Uniformity in the Definition of Death

Posted Oct 07 2008 7:14pm
Over at Pallimed, Thomas Quinn has a clear succinct review of some recent literature indicating the significant variability in both brain and cardiopulmonary prongs of the definition of death.

Yes, the UDDA provides that:
An individual who has sustained either (1) irreversible cessation of circulatory and respiratory functions, or (2) irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem, is dead. A determination of death must be made in accordance with accepted medical standards.

But the UDDA is "silent on acceptable diagnostic tests and medical procedures. It sets the general legal standard for determining death, but not the medical criteria for doing so. The medical profession remains free to formulate acceptable medical practices and to utilize new biomedical knowledge, diagnostic tests, and equipment." Therein lies the open door for variation.

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