Editor's Choice

Deep fears

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.324.7350.0/h (Published 08 June 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:h

Medicine favours a rational approach to the world, but deep cultural fears constantly get in the way of rationality. This journal describes three possible examples.

Brain death is a recent invention, prompted by the need to harvest organs for transplantation (p 1401). To many people the idea that there are two ways to be dead is strange. Surely if one death is final the other must be less than final. And wouldn't someone who was less than finally dead still be alive? Most doctors in Britain are comfortable with the concept of brain death, although there are exceptions who campaign tirelessly …

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