Diagnosing brain death

BMJ 2002; 325 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.325.7368.836 (Published 12 October 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:836

This article has a correction. Please see:

Honesty is best policy

  1. David J Hill, retired anaesthetist (david.hill@amserve.net)
  1. The Old Post House, Eltisley, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire PE19 6TG
  2. Royal College of Anaesthetists, London WC1B 4JY
  3. Intensive Care Society, London WC1B 3RE
  4. Intercollegiate Board for Training in Intensive Care Medicine, London WC1B 4JY

    EDITOR—Altruistic organ donors (and potential donors) have never had explained to them the implications of the process of donation, as is required for fully informed consent. The editorial by Baumgarten and Gerstenbrand does little to clarify the situation.1 They still retain the term “brain death,” which has long been replaced by “brain stem death,” and, more recently, “death for transplant purposes” has been used by the Department of Health. At the very least it should be made clear precisely what the (potential) donor understands by death. Without that understanding, consent will surely be invalid.

    If it is only …

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