Brain Death Raises Tough Questions
Two tragic cases have put the medical term in the news. But its meaning is not always clear to the public.
Two tragic medical cases with the same outcome: patients brain dead and on life support.
For 13-year-old Jahi McMath of Oakland, California, brain death was declared in the wake of complications from surgery. Her parents have fought to keep her on life support, contending that the functioning of her heart and lungs indicates she is still alive. In Texas, Marlise Munoz, a 33-year-old pregnant woman, collapsed at home and was subsequently termed brain dead at the hospital, according to her family. She remains on life support despite family wishes to turn off the ventilator; the hospital says it is following a state statute that prohibits removing life support from a pregnant patient so as to maintain the viability of