What do We do Now? Family Members and the Brain Dead
by Dennis Walikainen, senior editor
When a patient is declared brain dead, what options are available for family members? Who decides his or her fate? A recent case in California triggered the interest of Syd Johnson, assistant professor of philosophy at Michigan Tech.
Her article, “A Tragic Death and a Fight for Life,” was published in Impact Ethics: Making a Difference in Bioethics.
In it, she addresses the California case and the many issues involved in it and similar cases.
“The 13-year-old girl went in for a tonsillectomy, had complications from the surgery, and was considered brain dead,” Johnson says. “The hospital wanted to withdraw life support, and the family disagreed on religious grounds. Taking to social media, the family raised enough money to move her to a facility to keep her alive.”
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