When is a person really dead? How does a doctor know? How do we know when our faith is dead?
Doctors sometimes must tell people in a waiting room that their loved one is dead.
It’s a pronouncement none of us ever wants to hear regarding a loved one, but when a person is declared dead, it’s important that the declaration be correct. Rarely, but occasionally, a person who appears to have died, is not dead after all! He or she suddenly exhibits signs of life again, and some even recovered. So doctors want to get it right.
Because of medical life-support procedures, the cessation of heartbeat and breathing is sometimes not sufficient to say definitively that death has occurred. A stopped heart can sometimes be restarted (in fact, stopping and restarting a patient’s heart is standard procedure during heart surgery), and breathing can be sustained by a ventilator.
Therefore, in cases when a person is sustained by life support but is believed to be otherwise dead, there’s a standard that’s been adopted by every state in our country: The patient is dead...
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