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The ethics of donation and transplantation: are definitions of death being distorted for organ transplantation?

A recent commentary defends 1) the concept of 'brain arrest' to explain what brain death is, and 2) the concept that death occurs at 2-5 minutes after absent circulation. I suggest that both these claims are flawed. Brain arrest is said to threaten life, and lead to death by causing a secondary respiratory then cardiac arrest. It is further claimed that ventilation only interrupts this way that brain arrest leads to death. These statements imply that brain arrest is not death itself. Brain death is a devastating state that leads to death when intensive care, which replaces some of the brain's vital functions such as breathing, is withdrawn and circulation stops resulting in irreversible loss of integration of the organism.

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