Tag Archives: Brain Death

Exploiting despair – the death of Jahi McMath Brain Death

With the onslaught of media coverage of the Jahi McMath case it is time for a public debate on whether or not the loss of upper and lower brain function should determine death.  Brain death is the cessation of any brain activity in the upper brain as well as the lower brain or brain stem. The McMath case should be distinguished from the Terri Schiavo case where only upper brain function was in question. Ms. Schiavo was not determined to be brain dead, but rather a living person in a persistent vegetative state. Brain death is established by numerous objective…

Withdrawing Life Sustaining Treatment – Early Withdrawal of Life Sustaining Treatment in Severe Traumatic Brain Injuries, by Bernard W. Freedman JD, MPH Clinical Bioethics

CDC Statistics Traumatic Brain Injuries On August 29, 2011 the Canadian Medical Association published the findings of a multicenter cohort study evaluating the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment for patients who had suffered a traumatic brain injury. This study is of particular interest because by the nature of the injury  patients cannot make decisions for themselves and generally such decisions in patients in end-of-life care have a variety of comorbidities which make an evaluation of the efficacy of the decisions to withdraw life sustaining care difficult. 720 patients were evaluated from six different major medical centers. Of the 720, 228 patients…

Withdrawing Life Sustaining Treatment – Betancourt v Trinitas – Appellate Court Decision Bioethics Conflicts

The New Jersey Superior Court–Appellate Division dismissed the appeal in Betancourt v Trinitas finding the appeal moot. The court stressed it’s concern over the  “sparse record” presented at the time of  the original hearing in the trial court as well as on appeal and found that the evidence was not “conclusive in several areas necessary to fully adjudicate the substantial issues raised.” This is sometimes referred to as insufficiency of evidence. If the person or entity bringing the case does not provide sufficient evidence the court will dismiss the claim. In this case Tinitas Hospital’s request to withdraw the ventilator….

Life, for some in Texas, is Cheap Abandonment

HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE CHAPTER 166.039. PROCEDURE WHEN PERSON HAS NOT EXECUTED OR ISSUED A DIRECTIVE AND IS INCOMPETENT OR INCAPABLE OF COMMUNICATION For the most vulnerable patients, without friends or family, life for some medical patients in Texas, is cheap.  On vague and specious grounds and without proper oversight or transparency, physicians may withdraw life sustaining treatment from a patient, even if the patient is conscious, talking, and aware of his or her surroundings. This statute allows this to occur if a physician treating the patient concludes that the patient will die within six months and there is no…

Autonomy and Abandonment – Legal and Moral Implications Abandonment

Advance Health Directive: Patient has an advanced health directive, witnessed, notarized and in the format of a legal document done by his attorney, rejecting treatment if he has a terminal condition with the probability of death within a few months; and/or an irreversible condition requiring artificial life support. Patient’s daughter is designated as surrogate. The document is notarized. This 84 year old man is admitted for pneumonia; dementia; depression; anemia; malnutrition; renal failure, and hypernaturemia. History: Dysphasia, anorexia, ataxia, poor intake, altered level of consciousness, restless, hypotensive, shortness of breath, bilateral rales. He is unable to give any history himself….