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July 22 2009

Controversies About Brain Death—Reply

JAMA. 2009;302(4):380-382. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1040

In Reply: Drs Miller and Truog argue that the determination of brain death is not equivalent to death of a person. Their position is both a philosophical and religious one to which they are entitled. Determination of brain death as defined in my Commentary implies that the patient's comatose state is irreversible. The patient will never regain consciousness, never again be able to express human qualities, having lost all neurological ability to express his or her identity, memories, and cognitive functions. These facts indicate that from any practical perspective the patient has died. I leave it to others to debate the nonscientific issues.

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