How Do We Know When Someone is Really Dead?

The website io9 has an article/interview about the murky criteria of knowing when someone is truly no longer alive. While this may seem black and white, it's anything but.  From the article:

At what point does a person actually die? That depends on who you ask. To one person, it's the moment the heart stops beating. To another, it's when the brain enters a "vegetative" state. But a heart can be forced to keep beating; and how dead is a person, really, if she can continue to grow, develop, and even give birth after experiencing "brain death"?

In search of answers, we turned to Dick Teresi. A seasoned science writer and the former editor of Science Digest and Omni, Teresi has spent the last ten years researching and writing about the science behind the line that separates life and death. He has recounted his findings and experiences in his new book, The Undead: Organ Harvesting, the Ice-Water Test, Beating Heart Cadavers — How Medicine Is Blurring the Line Between Life and Death.

Read the entire article at io9.  

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Posted on June 18, 2012 .