Schiavo on the cutting edge: Functional brain imaging and its impact on surrogate end-of-life decision-making

Neuroethics 1 (2):75-83 (2008)
Abstract
The article addresses the potential impact of functional brain imaging (functional magnetic resonance imaging and positron-emission tomography) on surrogate end-of-life decision-making in light of varying state-law definitions of consciousness, some of which define awareness behaviorally and others functionally. The article concludes that, in light of admonitions by neuroscientists that functional brain imaging cannot yet replace behavioral evaluation to determine the existence of consciousness, state legislatures, courts and drafters of written advance healthcare directives should consider treating behavior, not function, as the touchstone for end-of-life decision-making
Keywords Schiavo  Advance directives  fMRI  PET  End-of-life decision-making  Neural correlates of consciousness  Permanent vegetative state  Minimally conscious state  Artificial nutrition and hydration  Functional brain imaging
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