On August 5, 1968, an ad hoc committee at Harvard Medical School published a landmark report that laid the groundwork for a new definition of death, based on neurological criteria.1 The authors, under the leadership of anesthesiologist Henry Beecher, stated that their primary purpose was to “define irreversible coma as a new criterion for death.” The concept of brain death has guided clinical practice for 50 years even though vigorous debate about its legitimacy has never ceased.
Truog RD, Pope TM, Jones DS. The 50-Year Legacy of the Harvard Report on Brain Death. JAMA. 2018;320(4):335–336. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.6990
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