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DEFINITION OF DEATH OPENING QUOTE a) Lamb - 'It is as wrong to treat the living as dead as it is to treat the dead as alive'
INTRODUCTION a) Chau & Herring - highlight a vast number of definitions, I'll explore some
LEGAL DEFINITION a) Airedale NHS Trust v Bland (HL)
- brain stem death = definition of legal and medical death
- LORD KEITH: 'in the eyes of the medical world and of the law a person is not clinically dead so long as the brain stem retains its function' b) Brain Stem Death Definition: Department of Health, A Code of Practice for the Diagnosis of Brain Stem Death outlines the three requirements, it must be concluded by 2 experts that: RSB (reversible, several, breath) i) The coma is not due to reversible causes, such as drug overdose ii) Several elements of brain stem have already been permanently iii)
destroyed; AND Patient is unable to breath spontaneously
WHY IT'S IMPORTANT i) Organ donation - at what point can we remove organs ii) Resources - should treatment and life-support machines be kept on for people in comas and/or permanent vegetative states?
iii) Delaying grievance process for the family iv) Inquests can rely on circumstances surrounding the moment of death to ascertain causes v) John Burgess (2010) - he suggests there should be a consistency between the point when life begins (so legal status of the foetus) and the point of death
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