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Article
June 23, 1956

DEFIBRILLATION

JAMA. 1956;161(8):751. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02970080081029

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Abstract

To the Editor:—  While I do not wish to detract from the brilliant result obtained by Dr. Claude Beck and his associates in resuscitating the patient who collapsed and appeared dead, as described in The Journal, June 2, page 434, I must take issue with the title of the article. By definition, death is irreversible, so that the mere fact that the patient was revived indicates that he was not dead. Even if we define death as cessation of heart beat and respiration, this patient was not dead, since in the case report the authors state "it was obvious that fibrillation was occurring in the ventricles." This patient was not dead, he was apparently dead. Furthermore, I wonder why he was permitted to leave the hospital if the clinical picture and the electrocardiogram were "consistent with early posterolateral myocardial infarction." Should he not have at least been hospitalized?

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