When is dead actually dead?

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    Health Ethics





    Two articles in the Walrus by Blair Bigham (2019 and 2022)


    Death Interrupted: How Modern Medicine is Complicating the Way we Die Blair Bigham 2022

    These two articles raise a number of the ethical topics we will review in Session 4 on Feb 15th 2023


    He raises/identifies the following issues:

    1. The definition of death – when does a person – or body “actually” die?  (brain death, cardiac death, Tacquisha McKitty case.)
    2. Personal death and death of the body
      1. Severe Dementia
      2. “coma”
      3. Persistent vegetative state
      4. Brain death
    3. Advance directives (prior capable wishes)
      1. What would a person actually want their end to look like
      2. How does that get expressed
      3. How does that get respected
    4. Palliative care
      1. Missing the transition from “cure” to “care.”
    5. Treating a person, or treating organs and physical systems
    6. Probability and uncertainty in diagnosis and prognosis
    7. DNR and consent
    8. Withdrawing life-sustaining treatments
    9. The burdens on physicians and care providers as they make decisions.


    We will talk about all of these issues (and some others) in our session…


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