Organ Harvesting, the Ice-Water Test, Beating-Heart Cadavers--How Medicine Is Blurring the Line Between Life and Death
By Dick Teresi
(Vintage Books, Paperback, 9781400096114, 350pp.)
Publication Date: December 11, 2012
List Price: $16.00*
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What is death, and how do people in the medical profession determine it? In this fascinating examination of the increasingly blurred line between life and death, consciousness and unconsciousness, science journalist Dick Teresi introduces us to the coma specialists, organ transplant surgeons, ICU doctors, and many others who are faced with this issue daily. The Undead describes how death has been determined through the ages, beginning with the ancient Egyptians and leading to the 1968 Harvard Medical School paper that indirectly stated that death was not cardiopulmonary failure, but a “loss of personhood”—i.e., brain death. Teresi explores the consequences of new technologies that extend people’s lives but which conflict with society’s desire to see them declared dead before their time.