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Redefining Death: The Push to Update the U.S. Death Act (Oct 2023)


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#1 MaximilianKohler

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Posted 27 October 2023 - 09:26 PM



Summary: A new survey reveals that 83% of 41 influential organizations support revisions to the U.S. Uniform Determination of Death Act. The act, defining death as either the irreversible cessation of brain or cardiopulmonary functions, is now under scrutiny.

The study emphasizes the need to align the legal description of death with current medical standards, omitting the requirement of hormone function loss for a brain death declaration. The study also uncovers a division between medical organizations and patient advocacy groups on discontinuing mechanical ventilation post-declaration.


Key Facts:

  1. Historically, death was determined when the heart stopped and one couldn’t breathe autonomously, but technological advancements in mechanical ventilation altered this perception, leading to the 1981 U.S. Uniform Determination of Death Act.
  2. The act lacks clarity on specific medical tests to determine death and some states even allow families to object to mechanical ventilation removal on religious grounds.
  3. Dr. Ariane Lewis pushes for the Death Act to recognize international and national medical standards for death by neurological criteria, which do not necessitate the loss of hormone function.

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: legal

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