Is it time to abandon brain death?

Hastings Cent Rep. 1997 Jan-Feb;27(1):29-37.


Despite its familiarity and widespread acceptance, the concept of "brain death" remains incoherent in theory and confused in practice. Moreover, the only purpose served by the concept is to facilitate the procurement of transplantable organs. By abandoning the concept of brain death and adopting different criteria for organ procurement, we may be able to increase both the supply of transplantable organs and clarity in our understanding of death.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Death / diagnosis*
  • Brain Death / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Brain Diseases
  • Clinical Protocols
  • Ethics, Medical*
  • Euthanasia, Active
  • Humans
  • Patient Selection*
  • Personhood
  • Resource Allocation
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • United States
  • Withholding Treatment