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October 1, 2008

Request for Complementary Medicine After Brain Death

JAMA. 2008;300(13):1517-1518. doi:10.1001/jama.300.13.1517-a

To the Editor: In their Grand Rounds, Dr Applbaum and colleagues1 presented a case concerning a family's request for complementary medicine after brain death in a 19-year-old patient. The medical team requested advice from an ethics consultation team, which concluded that “‘given the psychological benefits to the family . . . and the absence of risk to the patient’ (since she was dead), it was permissible for the team to accommodate the family's request so long as clear time limits were in place (2-3 days maximum).” While understandable from a psychological point of view, it is troublesome from an ethical position.