Continuing the definition of death debate: The report of the president's council on bioethics on controversies in the determination of death

Thomas, Albert Garth (2012) Continuing the definition of death debate: The report of the president's council on bioethics on controversies in the determination of death. Bioethics, 26 2: 101-107. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8519.2010.01812.x


Author Thomas, Albert Garth
Title Continuing the definition of death debate: The report of the president's council on bioethics on controversies in the determination of death
Journal name Bioethics   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0269-9702
1467-8519
Publication date 2012-02
Year available 2010
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1467-8519.2010.01812.x
Volume 26
Issue 2
Start page 101
End page 107
Total pages 7
Place of publication Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Abstract The President's Council on Bioethics has recently released a report supportive of the continued use of brain death as a criterion for human death. The Council's conclusions were based on a conception of life that stressed external work as the fundamental marker of organismic life. With respect to human life, it is spontaneous respiration in particular that indicates an ability to interact with the external environment, and so indicates the presence of life. Conversely, irreversible apnoea marks an inability to carry out the necessary work of life, an inability which the Council considers an indicator of death. This conception has been conceived to circumvent criticisms of the previous model of loss of somatic integration, a model the Council admits that, in the presence of evidence of continuing functional integration in brain dead patients, was looking less than convincing. Nevertheless, by focusing on external work and ignoring the more essential work of integrative unity, the Council's conception of the nature of life is untenable, and of no assistance in supporting a relation of equivalence between the concepts of brain death and death. Consequently, the Council's conclusions do little to advance the definition of death debate, a potentially intractable debate that may necessitate the investigation of alternate ethical justifications for organ harvesting.
Keyword Brain death
Death
Organ donation
Organism
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Article first published online: 24 MAR 2010

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2013 Collection
School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry
 
Versions
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 2 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 5 times in Scopus Article | Citations
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Wed, 22 Feb 2012, 01:41:49 EST by System User on behalf of School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry