If all we ever went by were episodes of CSI Miami and Law & Order, our world’s definition of death would be an easy one, for sure. (The person was alive. They were killed. Now they’re dead.) But reality is more complex than that, and in truth, physicians, ethicists, politicians, religious leaders, and many others are engaged in an ongoing debate about when human beings actually die. Is it when our hearts stop beating? Or when our brains cease activity, even though blood still may be pumping? As organ donors, transplant candidates, and loved ones of both, this debate impacts us because the definition of death has implications on the availability of cadaver donor organs. It’s a healthy discussion, in my opinion. One of my favorite publications for putting things into objective perspective is The Economist, and it has a good article on the death debate in its October 2 edition.
On an entirely separate note, the drama from Joe’s hospitalization isn’t over, but we thankfully received some solid answers from a member of OHSU transplant team — and the prognosis looks promising. He hopes to be home by Saturday. Your comments from that last post made my day. I’m ever grateful for your kindness, thoughts, and support.