Almost all the sources have indicated that there are little to no benefits of keeping a brain dead patient on ventilation. Taking a closer look into; brain dead criteria; organ donation; the cost of keeping a patient on life support and case studies on those who have been misdiagnosed it will be possible to draw an accurate conclusion on whether or not there are benefits of keeping a brain dead patient on life support.
3.1 Criteria for brain death
Brain death occurs when there is a loss of all brain and brain stem function due to damaged brain cells. It is often termed as an irreversible coma as the damaged cells cannot regenerate themselves and a patient is stuck in a coma-like state. (Wilson and Christensen, 2014)
The two brain scans show the contrast between a conscious patient and of a brain dead patient. The colourful or bright region in the normal conscious brain scan highlights areas which are active, preforming tasks such as, thinking, involuntary and voluntary movement. The image which shows brain death is completely black, suggesting no brain activity is taking place in comparison to a person with normal consciousness. The purple region around the brain represents the cerebral fluid around the brain.
The criteria or definition of brain death was re-examined in 1968 by a committee at Harvard Medical School and is part of the criteria used today. They defined it as when a patient; is unresponsive to stimulus; cannot move or breathe without the aid of a ventilator and has no brain stem reflexes. Several tests are done in order to determine if a patient meets these criteria and this can be done by physicians and neurologists. A brain dead patient is legally dead and a death cer...
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Pawar, A. K. (2009). the diagnosis of brain death. Retrieved january 29, 2014, from ncbi.nlm.nih.gov: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2772257/
unknown. (2013). FAQ. Retrieved 2014, from odf.org.za: https://www.odf.org.za/2013-06-11-09-17-45/faq.html
unknown. (2011, october 27). inside the human brain. Retrieved january 19, 2014, from nia.nih.gov: http://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/publication/part-1-basics-healthy-brain/inside-human-brain
unknown. (2014). what is life support. Retrieved 2014, from wisegeek.org: http://www.wisegeek.org/what-is-life-support.htm
Wickline, S. (2014). A Brain-Dead Mother, a Million-Dollar Baby. Retrieved 2014, from medpagetoday.com: http://www.medpagetoday.com/OBGYN/Pregnancy/43736
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