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You, young man, are assigned as my next patient. The tragic circumstances of your brain death bring us together in this moment. I am in my final year of anesthesia residency training, and yet tonight will be the first time I will provide the anesthesia care for an organ procurement. I open your electronic medical record and an unexpected window pops up: “You are about the enter the medical record of a deceased patient. Are you sure you want to proceed?” My mind balks as it tries to reconcile the contradictions … in the record, you are very much alive. I can see how fast your heart is beating, what your body temperature is, how much you have been urinating. And yet, you are technically dead.
Wen L. Meeting the Organ Donor. JAMA. 2016;315(11):1111-1112. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.18357