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Statistics on Defining Death

Project id 1004452
Subject area Arts Entertainment
Document type Essay
Words 2348
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Discovering Death Alan D. Shewmon, the professor of pediatric neurology at UCLA Medical School considers that "before the turn of this decade, many people thought that 'brain death' has been a settled issue; it no longer is. An increasing number of specialists have begun to re-examine critically and to reject various essential underlying assumptions" (Shewmon 1998). Determination of death has clearly become more complicated, and also the questions of when death is closing require replies. According to most recent definitions, even if the mind is entirely and irreversibly destroyed, someone can no longer relate to the world. As with any definition however, there are exceptions, grey areas, and fuzzy lines. We can't try for a single all-encompassing definition. We will always need to change our definitions according to the shifting beliefs of the community, as well as the changes in engineering. Until midway through the 20th century, it was believed that the performance of the cardiac, respiratory, and brain systems were essential for life. Before a person may be pronounced dead, then all three of them had to quit working. It's not surprising that without any additional evidence, the heart has been considered the organ that determined life since "it was obvious that, when the respiration and heart ceased, the brain would perish in a few minutes" (Ad Hoc 1968). We now understand however, that it is the mind that controls the role of these other closed systems. Without the mind, the lungs and heart may continue their regular function, and this may be the situation "even when there is not the remotest chance of a person regaining consciousness" (Ad Hoc. 1968). Dr. Denton Cooley, who in 1968 had been in control of more heart transplants than any other surgeon, also with much more succ...

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