Decapitation and the Definition of Death
Miller, Franklin G
Truog, Robert D
Journal of medical ethics 2010 Oct; 36(10): 632-4
Although established in the law and current practice, the determination of death according to neurological criteria continues to be controversial. Some scholars have advocated return to the traditional circulatory and respiratory criteria for determining death because individuals diagnosed as 'brain dead' display an extensive range of integrated biological functioning with the aid of mechanical ventilation. Others have attempted to refute this stance by appealing to the analogy between decapitation and brain death. Since a decapitated animal is obviously dead, and 'brain death' represents physiological decapitation, brain dead individuals must be dead. In this article we refute this 'decapitation gambit.' We argue that decapitated animals are not necessarily dead, and that, moreover, the analogy between decapitation and the clinical syndrome of brain death is flawed.
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The Incoherence of Determining Death by Neurological Criteria: A Commentary on "Controversies in the Determination of Death", a White Paper by the President's Council on Bioethics Miller, Franklin G.; Truog, Robert D. (2009-06)Traditionally the cessation of breathing and heart beat has marked the passage from life to death. Shortly after death was determined, the body became a cold corpse, suitable for burial or cremation. Two technological ...
Miller, Franklin G.; Truog, Robert D. (2009-12)Human life and death should be defined biologically. It is important not to conflate the definition of death with the criteria for when it has occurred. What is distinctively "human" from a scientific or normative perspective ...