Bioethics for clinicians: 24. Brain death

CMAJ. 2001 Mar 20;164(6):833-6.


Brain death is defined as the complete and irreversible absence of all brain function. It is diagnosed by means of rigorous testing at the bedside. The advent of neurologic or brain death criteria to establish the death of a person was a significant departure from the traditional way of defining death and remains ethically challenging to some. We review the ethical, cultural, religious and legal issues surrounding brain death and outline an approach to establishing a diagnosis of brain death in clinical practice.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Death / diagnosis
  • Brain Death / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Canada
  • Child, Preschool
  • Ethics, Medical*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physician's Role
  • Religion and Medicine
  • Social Values
  • Tissue Donors / legislation & jurisprudence