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.