Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he stops voting for the Free Fish party.
Look at some of the politician we have, of course you can be brain dead and still earn a living! And don't get me started on lawyers.
Q: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
Q: Did you check for blood pressure?
Q: Did you check for breathing?
Q: So it was possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
Q: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
A: Because his brains was sitting on my desk in a jar.
Q: But could the patient have still been alive nevertheless?
A: It is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law somewhere.
There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences.
P. J. O'Rourke
Once brain death has been pronounced the family's wishes vis a vis life support are immaterial in most states. The plug is pulled and the body is sent to the morgue. Period.
In New Jersey and New York the family can step in on religious grounds and insist that death be established by cardiopulmonary criteria rather than brain death criteria.
(I think that case in California is probably the result of involvement of an incompetent judge.)
This assumes that the doctors pronouncing brain death are competent to do so.
“We do not believe any group of men adequate enough or wise enough to operate without scrutiny or without criticism. We know that the only way to avoid error is to detect it, that the only way to detect it is to be free to inquire. We know that in secrecy error undetected will flourish and subvert”. – J Robert Oppenheimer.
I saw someone here post about a case of a brain dead patient that "woke up". Well the patient was in a medically induced coma. You cannot even begin the process of declaration of brain death until those drugs have cleared sufficiently from their system. On top of that they did not seem to do the whole battery of tests that were required.
If we've gone no further in medical science to be able to determine when a brain stem no longer functions...then we are very much living in an antiquated medical / science error that has probably killed untold thousands without knowing such.
I did read a post where you know someone who was declared brain dead, but actually wasn't. I'm sure anything is possible. But do you believe that type of incident is the rule, rather than the exception?