Statutory definitions of death and the management of terminally ill patients who may become organ donors after death.

D. Cole

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Scopus citations

Abstract

The law stipulates that death is irreversible. Patients treated in accord with the Pittsburgh protocol have death pronounced when their condition might well be reversed by intervention that is intentionally withheld. Nevertheless, the protocol is in accord with the medical "Guidelines for the Determination of Death." However, the Guidelines fail to capture the intent of the law, which turns out to be a good thing, for the law embodies a faulty definition of death. The inclusion of "irreversible" in the legal definition makes that definition excessively demanding and out of step with the ordinary concept of death. On this basis the protocol is absolved of the moral but not the legal charge that it involves vivisection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-155
Number of pages11
JournalKennedy Institute of Ethics journal
Volume3
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1993

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