Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 35 (3):223-241 (2010)

Ana S. Iltis
Wake Forest University
Traditionally, people were recognized as being dead using cardio-respiratory criteria: individuals who had permanently stopped breathing and whose heart had permanently stopped beating were dead. Technological developments in the middle of the twentieth century and the advent of the intensive care unit made it possible to sustain cardio-respiratory and other functions in patients with severe brain injury who previously would have lost such functions permanently shortly after sustaining a brain injury. What could and should physicians caring for such patients do? Significant advances in human organ transplantation also played direct and indirect roles in discussions regarding the care of such patients. Because successful transplantation requires that organs be removed from cadavers shortly after death to avoid organ damage due to loss of oxygen, there has been keen interest in knowing precisely when people are dead so that organs could be removed. Criteria for declaring death using neurological criteria developed, and today a whole brain definition of death is widely used and recognized by all 50 states in the United States as an acceptable way to determine death. We explore the ongoing debate over definitions of death, particularly over brain death or death determined using neurological criteria, and the relationship between definitions of death and organ transplantation
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1093/jmp/jhq017
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 71,231
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Brain Death - Too Flawed to Endure, Too Ingrained to Abandon.Robert D. Truog - 2007 - Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 35 (2):273-281.
The Dead Donor Rule: Can It Withstand Critical Scrutiny?F. G. Miller, R. D. Truog & D. W. Brock - 2010 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 35 (3):299-312.

View all 27 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

The Case for Kidney Donation Before End-of-Life Care.Paul E. Morrissey - 2012 - American Journal of Bioethics 12 (6):1-8.
Conceptual Clarity in Clinical Bioethical Analysis.J. Clint Parker - 2020 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 45 (1):1-15.
Building Norms for Organ Donation in China: Pitfalls and Challenges.Ana S. Iltis - 2019 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 44 (5):640-662.

View all 7 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
32 ( #358,694 of 2,518,147 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #408,577 of 2,518,147 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes