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Thread: Why brain dead means really dead

  1. #61
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    Re: Why brain dead means really dead

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben K. View Post
    Twas sarcasm. Death can be misdiagnosed no matter how you do it.
    True.

    What do you think the chances of McMath being misdiagnosed?

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    Re: Why brain dead means really dead

    Quote Originally Posted by jmotivator View Post
    Right, but in the McMath case her heart has continued to beat long past where it would normally stop for a person suffering brain death. The heart usually stops beating after 72 hours. Her's has been beating for a month. This would be an indication that the brain isn't actually dead and is at least continuing to send signal to the heart.
    There is no hard and fast rule. I have seen this 72 hour thing popped out there....but really, no rule. It depends how she is supported. Are their any drugs involved, IVs, or just trach and feeding tube? When you think of declaration of brain death, McMath is not "typical". She was young. She had no major physical trauma to complicate her care. She may have been obese, but the long term affects of her obesity had not set in. A young relatively undiseased body. No comparison to perhaps a 60 year old man that was declared brain dead after a gunshot wound to the head.

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    Re: Why brain dead means really dead

    Quote Originally Posted by year2late View Post
    There is no hard and fast rule. I have seen this 72 hour thing popped out there....but really, no rule. It depends how she is supported. Are their any drugs involved, IVs, or just trach and feeding tube? When you think of declaration of brain death, McMath is not "typical". She was young. She had no major physical trauma to complicate her care. She may have been obese, but the long term affects of her obesity had not set in. A young relatively undiseased body. No comparison to perhaps a 60 year old man that was declared brain dead after a gunshot wound to the head.
    I wonder how much her obesity and overall health played a role in her death. General anesthesia can be tricky sometimes with young yet large patients I would assume.

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    Re: Why brain dead means really dead

    Quote Originally Posted by year2late View Post
    There is no hard and fast rule. I have seen this 72 hour thing popped out there....but really, no rule. It depends how she is supported. Are their any drugs involved, IVs, or just trach and feeding tube? When you think of declaration of brain death, McMath is not "typical". She was young. She had no major physical trauma to complicate her care. She may have been obese, but the long term affects of her obesity had not set in. A young relatively undiseased body. No comparison to perhaps a 60 year old man that was declared brain dead after a gunshot wound to the head.
    And who says that she is being compared to a 60 year old man? Is "60 Year Old Man" the average for brain dead victims?

    I am simply stating the facts that have been presented in this case that the heart usually stops within 72 hours. All accounts are that she was only on a breather and IV. As the LA Times article clearly states, all the mother wanted, if her daughter was truly dead, was for her heart to stop beating on its own. It didn't.

    You are now throwing in a bunch of pointless guesswork for why her heart has kept beating. If it was beating artificially then by the mother's own statements it would have been stopped.
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    Re: Why brain dead means really dead

    If a person's organs are still functioning, then some part of their brain is still working.

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    Re: Why brain dead means really dead

    Quote Originally Posted by Smeagol View Post
    I usually get in trouble in this section but I'll give it another shot.

    (CNN) -- A person who is brain dead may appear alive -- there may be a heartbeat, they may look like they're breathing, their skin may still be warm to the touch. But doctors say there is no life when brain activity ceases.

    Why brain dead is really dead - CNN.com


    I'm sure you've heard the story of the little girl from California who went in for minor tonsil surgery and due to complications was eventually declared "brain dead." A very sad event indeed but further complicating the tragedy is her parents don't seem to understand what brain dead means.

    About 10 years ago a elderly family friend experienced a similar fate. A blood clot in his leg traveled through his body, lodged in his lungs and his wife found him passed out on the floor. He'd apparently gone about 20 minutes with no oxygen getting to his brain, was on a ventilator at the hospital and declared brain dead. He looked like he was sleeping and would even toss and turn a little but according to the doctors his brain had died and absent a miracle he could not regain consciousness. From a medical science perspective, respirators and feeding tubes only keep organs alive although the person is in all other respects deceased.

    Its not a pleasant topic to discuss but Jahi McMath's passing, as tragic as it is, I think presents a teaching opportunity.
    Funny, Sméagol, I said the same thing to my husband. I feel so awful for these people - I do, but I told him that they just do not understand what it means to be brain dead. They don't get it, and someone needs to teach them. They can have a heartbeat but that doesn't mean they are "alive."

    My father died about 3 and a half years ago, and something similar happened to him with the blood clot. His legs were in a lot of pain, and my mother unknowingly massaged his legs to keep them from hurting. Apparently, according to the doctor, a clot broke loose and traveled up to his brain, and he had a massive stroke. His brain was without oxygen for 20 minutes, until the EMTs got there. He was already gone. He was breathing, but on a machine.

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    Re: Why brain dead means really dead

    It's terribly sad to watch parents struggling to come to terms with the death of their child. The media, and all the consumers who are gobbling up that media coverage, needs to butt out and leave them to deal with their grief privately.

    Reminds me of the South Park episode from years ago satirizing the Terri Schaivo story. Kenny played the role of Terri - suffering an accident and falling into a vegetative state. In the midst of the much-publicized national debate over whether to pull the plug or not they find a missing page of his will that reads "If i'm ever in a vegetative state please for the love of God do not show me in that condition on national television".

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    Re: Why brain dead means really dead

    Quote Originally Posted by mak2 View Post
    Some families will never do it, in the mean time a veggie is costing thousands and thousands of dollars a day. It is a horribly sad situation, and its very ethically complicated. Some stuff is just more important than PR. It aint really good for the family pretending the patitent is still alive either, situations like this are all bad. they would terminally wean the patient and the patient may or may not breath on their own. I am bettting if declared brain dead she would not. Terrible situation.
    It is very ethically complicated, however I've run across articles and other references of faulty reads on EKG machines, which would happen if there was very minimal brain activity that the machine wouldn't pick up. The little girl probably is dead unfortunately but I would always worry about finishing it during a faulty read. I think the family really should be the ones to make that decision, but am not opposed to medical professionals gently discussing the situation with them to get to the proper decision. From what I've seen in this case the family has endured some bullying about their decision to keep her on the ventilator which to me is unacceptable, they are grieving and should be treated with the utmost respect and care at this time.
    Neither side in an argument can find the truth when both make an absolute claim on it.

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    Re: Why brain dead means really dead

    Technology evolved faster than we evolved spiritually and socially now we have questions we can not answer.

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    Re: Why brain dead means really dead

    Quote Originally Posted by Smeagol View Post
    I'm not a doctor but I think they hook up electrodes to the patient's scalp and if the person is alive equipment can read brain waves even in a coma. If the person is dead no waves are emitted..I think.
    My understanding is that there is a margin of error between low activity and no activity, the graph could show flat line even though there is a very minimal impulse emitted from the brain. I'm not a medical professional but just going on things I have run across.
    Neither side in an argument can find the truth when both make an absolute claim on it.

    LMR

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