The Living Dead Fiction, Horror, and Bioethics

Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 53 (3):439-451 (2010)
Abstract
The victim’s upper brain is destroyed. He’s a living corpse, but his organs are alive and warm and happy until they can be taken out by the butchers at the Institute. Karen Ann Quinlan wasn’t dead. But, terrifyingly, she wasn’t fully alive, either. Maybe she was no longer human. A smear like “death panels” emerges and catches fire because it’s fundamentally interesting. You could write a great thriller . . . about death panels. As I write, a single phrase dominates public discussion of health-care reform in the United States: “death panels.” Its power cannot lie in its referential accuracy or be diminished by arguing, even with irrefutable evidence, that it is a misrepresentation. The ..
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