Abstract

The law stipulates that death is irreversible. Patients treated in accord with the Pittsburgh protocol have death pronounced when their condition might well be reversed by intervention that is intentionally withheld. Nevertheless, the protocol is in accord with the medical "Guidelines for the Determination of Death." However, the Guidelines fail to capture the intent of the law, which turns out to be a good thing, for the law embodies a faulty definition of death. The inclusion of "irreversible" in the legal definition makes that definition excessively demanding and out of step with the ordinary concept of death. On this basis the protocol is absolved of the moral but not the legal charge that it involves vivisection.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3249
Print ISSN
1054-6863
Pages
pp. 145-155
Launched on MUSE
2009-01-01
Open Access
No
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