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Registered: 11-2008
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When is someone dead?

When is someone dead?

Death determination debate rages on in science, medicine: Uncertainty influences disconnecting life support, organ donation.

It's not always easy to determine if someone is dead. Science, medicine, law or religions don't always offer simple guidance either. But specific details around death do matter, and are not merely topics for philosophical debate. For example, when should someone be taken off life support? When is someone dead enough for organ donation?

Last week, lawyers were in court in California arguing over whether 13-year-old Jahi McMath is dead or not. After surgery went wrong in December, her doctors declared her brain dead. Jahi McMath's family is asking a California court to reverse the declaration of death in her case. They wanted to take her off life support but her grieving family objected and went to court. Even though there's a death certificate for McMath, the family wants the court to reverse the declaration of death. Neurologists have recently provided evidence for both sides.

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{Reversing a declaration of death? Sounds pretty [sign in to see URL]'t it? After all when you're dead you're dead! Or are you? There are many way of determining if someone is dead. If you can no long breathe on your own or your heart stops beating, if your brain is no longer [sign in to see URL] probably dead. But not necessarily. Machines and drugs can keep some parts of the body alive while other parts may seem dead. Often families with no experience with such things have to decide if and when to "pull the plug". The word "viable" has come to represent whether life is worth living in the nether-world of "near life/near death" for many families. They have to decide not if a loved one is dead but should be dead. Difficult decision to say the least.

Doctors struggle to save lives even though they know some lives are no longer worth living. Families struggle to make life and death decisions for their family members and sometimes it ends up in court. It seems to me its time for doctors, law experts, pro & con euthanasia activists, religious leaders and concerned citizens got together and made some definitive decisions about when and how human life should end. The problem of course is how will they ever agree on such a controversial subject? What to do? Any ideas?}

"libido sciendi"..... the passion to know.
10/14/2014, 12:01 pm Link to this post PM Noserose

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