Sunday, 13 January 2013

What are some of the ethical implications of these definitions of death? Provide some real-life examples

 Definitions of death :

According to surgeons, if the victim shows a slight reaction to anything, he will not be considered brain dead.
Ventilators are used to keep brain dead patients alive while decisions are made on their part.

Procedure of donation of organs
Dispute occurred in England concerning the reaction of the patients during organ removal while on ventilator.
Anesthetic (painkillers) are used during the operation, HOWEVER if none is used and patients are able to react to the pain, it might be too late as the blood pressure and heartbeat increases dramatically with only one cut.
If certified brain dead before the organ removal, the patient would not be dosed with anesthetic which is considered euthanasia.

Example 1 :
Cadaveric organ donation from brain-dead patients is the most common and preferred source of organs for transplantation.

Marion, 45, an administrative assistant, suddenly became unresponsive at work. She was placed on mechanical ventilation, and transferred to the ICU. Marion was classified as a brain-dead donor even though her heart continued to beat. Mechanical ventilation was continued to ensure heart and lung perfusion and to preserve organ integrity for possible transplant.

Knowing that she is still alive, her families could not do anything but stand by and watch. When asked for consent for organ donations, Bob, Marion’s husband had to make a decision for his wife. If the patient has not legally consented for their organs to be donated, the choices are made by family according to their own values goals and priority.

In the end, Bob donated Marion's organs and tissues to the GOL.
Many arguments have been brought up since regarding whether patients diagnosed with ‘brain death’ should have a choice to donate or not to donate their organs when they aren’t legally certified as being dead.

Example 2:
“A 58-year-old British man suffering from so-called locked-in syndrome died Wednesday, six days after a panel of High Court judges rejected his request for help in ending his life.”

After having a stroke, Mr. Nicklinson, developed locked-in syndrome, an incurable condition in which a patient loses all motor functions but remains awake and aware. He had spent the last seven years paralyzed from neck down.

He argued and would like to seek permission from the court to have a doctor administer the necessary dose without fear of prosecution. Under British law, anybody, including a doctor, who knowingly helps a terminally ill person to die faces possible criminal prosecution.

Mr. Nicklinson said, “It cannot be acceptable in 21st-century Britain that I am denied the right to take my own life just because I am physically handicapped.” He added, “It is astonishing that in 1969 we could put a man on the moon, yet in 2012 we still cannot devise adequate rules for government-assisted dying.”

In Europe, only Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands allow Euthanasia. The British law against assisted suicide was mitigated in 2010 with a statement by the Crown Prosecution Service, that set out the detailed circumstances that would be taken into account in reaching a decision on whether to press charges.

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