(NRO) – A new and highly problematic means of obtaining organs is pushing the boundaries of the “dead donor rule,” which requires a vital organ donor to be truly dead before organs are retrieved. It also requires that no patient be killed for their organs.
Dead is dead, but there are two approaches to declaring death. “Death by neurological criteria” — commonly known as “brain death” — and death by cardiopulmonary criteria, sometimes called “heart death.” The key point for both is that they each require “irreversibility,” that is, either the brain has ceased irreversibly to function as a brain both as a whole and in each constituent part, or there has been an irreversible cardiac arrest. CONTINUE