Student_Wk_02_BrainDeath

Student_Wk_02_BrainDeath - ASB 353 Week Two: Brain Death We...

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ASB 353 Week Two: Brain Death We conclude our look at the history of deathways in the United States by looking at the modern controversies over how death is defined. Definition of death is a social policy issue, with two dimensions: -conceptual interpretation : what death means in context of medical/biological view -appropriate clinical tests used to determine that a person is dead, esp. when technological means have been used to prolong life Changing attitude toward definition of death -traditional: death is at moment of permanent cessation of respiration, circulation -late 1960s: note how medical policy is ahead of general public consensus -1968: Ad Hoc Committee of the Harvard Medical School to Examine the Definition of Death criteria -need to check after 24 hour period; with no demonstrable change in the following: -unreceptivity/unresponsiveness -lack of spontaneous movement or breathing -lack of reflexes -flat EEG (electroencephalograph; electrical activity in specific regions of brain) in cerebral cortex -this standard is published at time of emergence of organ transplantation techniques -many people link standard of brain death to organ donation Changes in public perception - happens during 1970s – same time as death awareness movement expands in US -changes due to advances in medical technology -machines -maintain organic processes; not restore consciousness or higher brain functions -Is “brain dead” really dead, legally? -1973 California court case: Andrew Lyons -Japan: some doctors also charged with murder for taking patients off life support 1981: US President’s Commission, “Uniform Definition of Death Act” -the accepted standard definition (see Annual Editions text, Blank article, for direct quote) -in this Act: death is linked to direct cessation of brain function rather than to indirect cessation (of brain function) after shutdown of heart and lungs Emergence of new terms in US society: -Brain death : brain stem death or whole brain death -- no discernable brain activity including autonomic functioning -Partial, higher, neo-cortical, and cortical death : used interchangeably – there remains brain stem or other non-cortical activity To decide if brain has ceased to function, physicians look for three signs: -patient in deep coma -no reflexes associated with the brain stem -patient must not be able to breathe independently 1
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This note was uploaded on 04/02/2008 for the course ASB 353 taught by Professor Repp during the Spring '08 term at ASU.

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Student_Wk_02_BrainDeath - ASB 353 Week Two: Brain Death We...

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