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Crit Care. 2005;9(6):538-42. Epub 2005 Oct 31.

Pro/con ethics debate: when is dead really dead?

Author information

  • 1Health Care Ethics Center, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA 15282, USA. lwhets6623@aol.com

Abstract

Contemporary intensive care unit (ICU) medicine has complicated the issue of what constitutes death in a life support environment. Not only is the distinction between sapient life and prolongation of vital signs blurred but the concept of death itself has been made more complex. The demand for organs to facilitate transplantation promotes a strong incentive to define clinical death in a manner that most effectively supplies that demand. We consider the problem of defining death in the ICU as a function of viable organ availability for transplantation.

PMID:
16356234
PMCID:
PMC1414041
DOI:
10.1186/cc3894
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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