Controversies in the Determination of Death

12 December 2017

In peeping the neurological criterion, the Council was correct, but the justification of the criteria is insufficient. The neurological criteria that must be met in order for death to be declared are the irreversible cessation of heartbeat, permanent inability to breath, and total brain failure. The neurological criteria work in such a way that if they are met, it is an Indication that the Individual Is unable to perform the biological functions needed to continue to function as a human being. Meeting any of the criteria is an indication of death.

If irreversible cessation of heartbeat and efforts to restore heartbeat prove unfruitful, then the heart does not pump blood around the body and the oxygen exchanges within blood is not able to occur nor are vital organs able to receive the blood and nutrients they need, which leads to total functional failure, the inability of organs to function. If the organs are unable to function, especially the heart, than the individual Is unable to carry out any further life functions, and Is therefore, dead.

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Permanent inability to breath does not allow the body to take in new oxygen and expel waste carbon dioxide, which further prevents the rest of the body from attaining new oxygen and performing its functions adequately. Although it may be argued that artificial ventilation can provide a means for an individual to be kept alive by breathing for them, but they are unable to breathe on their own and will never be able to do so again, and therefore, cannot perform the actions necessary to further sustain their life which Is a clear Indicant of death.Total brain failure Is the failure of all the parts of the brain, but some physiological functions of the body may still be able to be carried out, such as the liver secreting bile, assuming the individual is on a ventilator. Total brain failure is connected to death by the means that if a attain is diagnosed with total brain failure, they are unable to keep themselves alive and would otherwise be ‘dead’, If not for the ventilator.Neurological failure includes the criteria Involved In declaring death, therefore playing a key role In causing death.

The above mentioned criteria outline the physiological occurrences that occur when neurological failure happens. The objections to the criteria argue various points that regard to how the criteria are defined. Although the Council dismisses the objections and keeps the criteria, their justification Is mistaken due to the fact that the objections pose clarifications In the arterial that would be beneficial to Incorporate.The primary objection Is In regards to organic processes are no longer carried out, even when ventilation is going out; essentially zero brain function is when death has occurred. Hans Jonas points out that there is no clear cut way to determine death because essentially, even under ventilation, the patient is still considered to be alive and his cells are still functioning. Similarly so, Dry.Alan Showmen pointed out that the patient is not totally dead by providing a list of functions carried out even after total brain failure, as long as artificial ventilation keeps the patient breathing.

Showmen strongly argued the previous Justification that once the brain function stops, all physiological processes cease, which is proven false upon his findings. He is not claiming that they continue once the patient is removed from ventilation, but that the processes continue to be carried out, even without full function of the brain.In Showman’s opinion, death occurs when every function has ceased, so in the case of total functional failure. Proof. Alfonse Gomez-Lobo expands on the idea that using the criteria does not alter the definition of death, but rather determining it a different way. Nevertheless, he agrees with Showmen and expands on his information, stating that “the choice of a specific criterion or standard is insufficient, by itself, to determine whether someone is dead or not” (Gomez-Lobo, P. S.

Of DoD).He further draws attention to possible misdiagnoses based on declaring ‘brain death’, and even goes so far as to say that taking an individual off ventilation is killing them twice, ‘death of the mind and death of the body(Gomez-Lobo, P. S. Of DoD). Dry. Edmund D. Pipelining agrees with Gomez- Lobo in that death has not only a biological definition, but also a philosophical one ND that the criteria of total brain failure do not adequately meet those requirements.

Pipelining further agrees with Jonas in the aspect that trying to define death philosophically does not adequately satisfy the empirical definition required.However, Pipelining also states, “While necessary, these criteria are not sufficient per SE to define death”, which adheres to the Council’s decision to keep the criteria being correct, but the Justification being mistaken (Pipelining, P. S. Of DoD). The Council, in their decision to keep the criteria was not mistaken, but rather the criteria Justification is incorrect. The criteria for total brain failure were insensitive to the philosophical definition of death, but the Council adheres to a more appropriate rationale discussed by Dry. Gilbert C.

Mainlander. … The determination of death: a philosophical rationale that seeks to characterize the fundamental work of self-preservation which any living organism must carry out if it is to remain alive” goes along with the claim that death occurs when total brain failure is met because it prevents an individual from carrying out the required function to be regarded as ‘alive’ (Mainlander, P. S. Of DoD).

Having a drive to breathe is argued to be significantly efferent than being mechanically ventilated and clearly differs in quality of life and essence of living.There was also dispute in regards to the Dead Donor rule and claims that patients with total brain failure’ were being taken off ventilation at more opportune times for organ donation to occur, which is morally and philosophically unjust because essentially the person was being killed ‘again’ so their organs may be harvested. The criterion are being claimed to be invalid because they do not meet philosophically accurate standards in declaring death, although there is speculation s to the fine line between death and living.Nevertheless, there is a means in which that needs to be done is to review and revise what the criteria entail and to more clearly define total brain failure’. Defining the criteria more clearly not only corrects their Justification, but also provides an opportunity to provide a more philosophically acceptable definition for the criteria. Overall, redefining the criteria after taking in the consideration of all the objections would validate the criteria Justification and further support the Council’s decision to keep the criteria.

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