Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Myth of ‘brain death’ exposed in Michigan

Via David

Image result for Teen Survived Kalamazoo Shooting After Being Pronounced Brain Dead

“Brain death” sounds so scientific when uttered by a medical authority, an indication that the real life of a patient is over.  But it is a judgment call with so little scientific basis that (via the New York Post):

A 14-year-old girl wounded during the shooting rampage in Kalamazoo, Mich., was declared brain-dead and about to have her organs harvested when she suddenly showed signs of life, according to a new report Monday.


  1. The subject of brain death is complicated...emotionally, legally and physiologically. There are objective medical
    tests that can show a person no longer has a functional
    brain. The simplest is an EEG. While not perfect a near
    total lack of signal from the brain, especially if the body
    is stimulated during testing is a very strong indicator of brain death. The gold standard is nuclear brain perfusion imaging where an isotope is injected and a gamma camera scans the skull to see if any metabolic activity occurs in the cerebrum. If no activity is seen this is considered 100% proof of anoxic brain death. If however there is perfusion of tissue and electrical activity in the brain the issue becomes one of opinion. Many a person has been thought to be in a permanent vegetative state i.e. brain dead only to wake up months or even years later.

    In this case it's quite apparent that the staff rushed to judgment far too soon as the determination of brain death
    in even obvious cases takes a fair amount of time.