Presidential Commission in 1991 and the Uniform Determination of Death Act - Research Paper Example

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The Commission of the President and the Uniform Determination of Death Act (UDDA), incorporated two concepts related to the definition…
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Presidential Commission in 1991 and the Uniform Determination of Death Act
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Presidential Commission in 1981 and the UDDA Presidential Commission in 1981 and the UDDA In 1981, the government of the United States published a report detailing the guidelines that are supposed to be employed when defining death. The Commission of the President and the Uniform Determination of Death Act (UDDA), incorporated two concepts related to the definition of death (Cohen, Rubenstein, & Jackson, 2006). The two concepts were viewed as corresponding concepts. For instance, the commission found these concepts complementary to each other. This article will explain the definition of death as proposed by the Presidential Commission in 1981 and the Uniform Determination of Death Act.
The Presidential Commission and the UDDA came up with two concepts related to the definition of death. On one hand, the first whole-brain concept asserts that death occurs when the lungs, heart and the brain undergo an irremediable functional breakdown (Ascension Health, 2012). These organs are closely correlated to each other. Therefore, if one of the organs stops functioning, the others cannot function. On the other hand, the second whole-brain definition of death points out that the functioning of the entire brain is the hallmark of existence. This is because the brain is the regulator of bodily activities. Therefore, when the brain does not function an individual is considered dead (Cohen, Rubenstein, & Jackson, 2006).
The President’s Commission highlighted that the brain-death criterion was not a new way of defining death (Cohen, Rubenstein, & Jackson, 2006). This commission involved a group of medical consultants who came up with the brain-death concept. Furthermore, the criterion of brain death can be confused with various conditions including metabolic intoxication, hypothermia and drug intoxication. Therefore, the medical unit is usually advised to be extremely cautious when dealing with the young children and individuals in shock. Contrarily, the Presidential Commission did not include the Uniform Determination of Death Act in the diagnosis of brain death. Recent studies prove that most states around the world have already adopted the brain death concept and criterion. However, the determination of brain death varies in most countries, based on certain cultural and religious views.
In the past, human beings usually died from apnea after severe head injuries. However, emergency health care can allow them to be placed on lifesaving machines in order to reverse the action (Ascension Health, 2012). In this context, the criteria used for brain death includes the absence of motor responses, corneal reflexes, papillary responses, caloric responses, gag reflex and respiratory responses.
In conclusion, the persistent vegetative condition is also related to brain death. This condition arises when the cerebrum is damaged while the brain stem is still functioning. Patients in this state cannot be declared dead, since; the brain death criterion is not applicable in their case. In fact, patients in a persistent vegetative state can survive for several years through artificial means and the use of antibiotics (Cohen, Rubenstein, & Jackson, 2006). According to a report presented by the President’s Commission, there was a certain patient who was able to survive for approximately thirty-seven years under this state.
Ascension Health. (2012). Uniform Declaration of Death Act (UDDA). Retrieved from
Cohen, E., Rubenstein, A., & Jackson, E. (2006). The definition of death and the ethics of organ procurement from the deceased. Retrieved from Read More
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