[time-nuts] Determining Time-Nut infection severity

William H. Fite omniryx at gmail.com
Wed Oct 27 15:17:24 UTC 2010

In the United States, cessation of heart beat, for all its problems and
ambiguities, continues to be recognized as the legal definition of death,
cold water resuscitations and the like notwithstanding.  The term "brain
dead" has no clear legal meaning, as evidenced in the conflicting and
ambiguous lawsuits involving Terri Schiavo here in Florida.  In the end,
Schiavo was not adjudged by the court to be dead because her brain was
"dead" but rather beyond any reasonable expectation of improvement or
recovery.  She did not legally become dead until her heartbeat stopped a
number of days after feeding and hydration were terminated.

In the case of organ harvesting, the patient is similarly not considered
dead because the EEG is isoelectric.  Rather, the conclusion is drawn that
the individual is without hope of recovery.  The organs are not harvested
until the heart stops because it is not until that (ambiguous) moment that
the person is dead.

It is the cold water resuscitations and similar events that lead medical
professionals to be comfortable with the extremely vague concept I stated
earlier.  The lawyers fairly often wrangle after the fact but that
discussion takes place over an embalmed or cremated body.

For the foreseeable future, this picture will not become any clearer.  In
the meantime, adopt the posture of the 19th century melodramaticists and
have a bell installed in your coffin, just in case...

On Tue, Oct 26, 2010 at 6:40 PM, Magnus Danielson <
magnus at rubidium.dyndns.org> wrote:

> On 10/25/2010 04:21 PM, William H. Fite wrote:
>> Mike is correct.  Brain activity does not screech to a halt but peters out
>> over a period of minutes once the heart stops beating.
>> When we (I'm in the medical field and not, by any stretch of the
>> imagination
>> an engineer) speak of someone being "brain dead" or "flat line EEG," we
>> don't really mean that there is no electrical activity in the brain at
>> all,
>> only that there is no purposeful activity.
>> That is why, in most jurisdictions--not all--death is defined as cessation
>> of heartbeat.  In the eyes of the law, that's a dichotomous variable; it
>> is
>> or it ain't.  Which means, from a legal perspective, at least, that when
>> lay
>> people say that so-and-so was dead for a time and then brought back, they
>> are correct, cornball as it sounds.
>> Actually, heart beat doesn't cease like snapping a light switch but trails
>> off into meaningless blips and wiggles that can go on for a while.
>> Clinical death, to physicians and other health professionals is when the
>> machine has quit and it can't be fired up again.  Vague, yes, but
>> perfectly
>> adequate.
> For several reasons this definition is not usable for all cases anymore.
> There are cases when the brain can be considered dead, but the rest of the
> patient is relatively healthy. For the purpose of making organ
> transplantation possible, brain death is clinically being used, with the
> good old ticker and breath as a rough indication and subsequent failures of
> restoring those has failed.
> There is one case in which a Swedish medical student was out skiing in
> Norway and went through the ice and was being held there by the strong
> water. It took them 45 min just to get her out of the water. Her heart had
> stopped. Her respiration had stopped. She have had no pulse or breath for
> over an hour when they finally started working on her at the hospital. She
> survived and is almost completely restored. She works at that very hospital.
> Cooling patients down causes less brain-damage and is now an established
> treatment for certain trauma cases. The heart-compressions being done helps
> a lot to keep brain-damages down. We keep learning more and more about
> reducing damages on heart attack patients.
> So that definition has become less and less meaningful for that very
> reason. Not all legal systems reflect this thought, but as I recall the
> Swedish legal system did change this a few years back.
> So.....I see no way in which one could determine with precision when life
>> ends.  At least not with the precision that this group would consider even
>> minimally acceptable.
> Agreed. We might agree on day. Maybe hour. Then it becomes kind of
> difficult.
> Cheers,
> Magnus
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