Death-Defining Acts Historical and Cultural Observations on the End of Life

  • T. Forcht Dagi


For the past two decades, physicians, philosophers, attorneys, legislators, and the public at large have been forced to confront a number of controversies engendered by the Harvard Ad Hoc Committee to Examine the Definition of Brain Death (hereinafter called the Ad Hoc Committee). The voluminous literature that has arisen has concentrated on three areas: the meanings of death and the implications of redefining death in terms of cerebral function, the development of satisfactory criteria for diagnosing brain death, and the establishment of uniform codes for the declaration of death. Despite intensive efforts on the part of many segments of the professional, academic, and policy-making communities, the controversies have not been resolved, nor has the public become reconciled to all aspects of accepted practice.


Brain Death Irreversible Loss Human Essence Fleshy Fibre Diagnose Brain Death 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Forcht Dagi
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of NeurosurgeryBrown UniversityProvidenceUSA
  2. 2.Kennedy Institute of EthicsGeorgetown University Law CenterUSA

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