• Richard M. Zaner
Part of the Philosophy and Medicine book series (PHME, volume 31)


It was mainly in view of two developments that, in 1968, an Ad Hoc Committee was formed at Harvard Medical School to examine the definition of death as involving “brain death” ([1], p. 337). On the one hand, “improvements in resuscitative and supportive measures have led to increased efforts to save those who are desperately injured.” At times, these efforts were only partially successful, with the result that an individual could be left with circulation and respiration (at times, but not always, artifically supported), but whose brain was irreversibly damaged. On the other hand, obsolete criteria for the diagnosis of death could lead to controversy in obtaining organs for transplantation, which had already become sufficiently developed to challenge those criteria.


Brain Stem Brain Death Personal Identity High Brain Persistent Vegetative State 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard M. Zaner
    • 1
  1. 1.Vanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA

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