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Controversies in the determination of death: perspectives from Switzerland


Monteverde, Settimio; Rid, Annette (2012). Controversies in the determination of death: perspectives from Switzerland. Swiss Medical Weekly, 142:w13667.

Abstract

In 1968, an Ad Hoc committee at the Harvard Medical School advanced new criteria for determining death. It proposed that patients in irreversible coma with no discernible central nervous system activity were actually dead. The committee paved the way for the "whole brain" definition of death, which has reached broad public acceptance and legal enactment in many countries. Despite this, the philosophical and ethical debate about the "whole brain" definition of death is far from being closed. This paper analyses the ongoing controversy and evaluates the recent revision of the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences guidelines for determining death.

Abstract

In 1968, an Ad Hoc committee at the Harvard Medical School advanced new criteria for determining death. It proposed that patients in irreversible coma with no discernible central nervous system activity were actually dead. The committee paved the way for the "whole brain" definition of death, which has reached broad public acceptance and legal enactment in many countries. Despite this, the philosophical and ethical debate about the "whole brain" definition of death is far from being closed. This paper analyses the ongoing controversy and evaluates the recent revision of the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences guidelines for determining death.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Biomedical Ethics and History of Medicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2012
Deposited On:28 Jan 2013 11:39
Last Modified:07 Dec 2017 18:26
Publisher:EMH Swiss Medical Publishers
ISSN:0036-7672
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.4414/smw.2012.13667
PubMed ID:22903228

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