Rules of death: When the end is not what it seems

By Linda Geddes IT’S a nightmarish scenario: a 55-year-old man, pronounced dead after a cardiac arrest, is minutes away from organ donation when he begins to show signs of life. “On being moved to the operating room table, the anaesthetist noticed that he was coughing,” says neurologist Adam Webb of Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia, who initially pronounced the man brain dead. It transpired that the man had also regained corneal reflexes and was breathing – both signs of a functioning brainstem. Although the man later died,
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