Clinical Criteria for Pediatric Brain Death The Washington Experience

  • David C. McCullough


In this privileged nation, a death of a child is an exceptional event. It is a catastrophe that is unexpected, always tragic, and invariably appalling. The antecedent illness, shocking diagnosis, therapeutic failure, and terminal suffering of children with chronic disorders, such as cancer, developmental disabilities, and rare infectious conditions, are singularly morbid and disconcerting. But, in their own right, the swift and numbing experiences of accidental death represent a unique and contrasting experience. Accidents are the major contributor to pediatric mortality in the United States. Well-developed emergency care systems and life-support therapy often result in irreversible coma in juveniles with otherwise healthy bodies. Consequently, medical workers and parents may suddenly be confronted with revolting but inescapable decisions.


Organ Donation Brain Death Irreversible Cessation Irreversible Coma Shocking Diagnosis 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • David C. McCullough
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Neurological Surgery and Child Health and DevelopmentGeorge Washington University School of MedicineUSA
  2. 2.Department of NeurosurgeryChildren’s Hospital National Medical CenterUSA

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