The definition of a brain death-diagnosis is death based upon the non-existence of any neurologic function. Families who had lost a family member who was declared brain dead, can have questions regarding this term.
Brain death: A description
The term, brain death, comprises of a legal death-definition. It is when an individual’s entire brain functioning stopped and is irreversible. Due to serious and severe injury or trauma to the brain, the blood supply from the body to the brain is totally blocked and it leads to the dying of the brain. When brain death is diagnosed, it is death, which is permanent.
How is the decision made that a person is brain dead?
A doctor will conduct tests to come to the conclusion that brain death occurred. These types of tests are based upon both sound as well as legitimate acquired medical guidelines. Tests incorporate a clinical examination to demonstrate that a person has no brain-reflexes, whilst he / she can’t breathe by themself. Certain situations may require additional tests. Ask the doctor to explain how your loved one’s brain death, was established.
It is possible that a person may show some reflexes or spinal activity like muscle contractions or twitching. Electrical impulses cause spinal reflexes which can stay behind in the individual’s spinal column. Such reflexes can occur despite the fact that the person’s brain is dead.
Whilst tests are conducted, what happens to the person?
A ventilator, a machine which breathes for the individual will be attached to the person. The ventilator is required because no signals can be send by the brain, informing the lungs to breathe. Special drugs assisting in maintaining blood pressure as well as other body functions, may be administered. While the doctor is conducting the brain death-testing, the administering of medications and the ventilator-function will continue. However, it won’t affect the test results.
Do drugs exist which can stop brain-functioning which may result in a false diagnosis?
Brain function can be masked by drugs like sedatives and muscle relaxants. Brain death testing can just be conducted when the person has low levels of above-mentioned drugs in his / her body. It can be required to wait until such levels go down. Then the doctor will be able to measure brain activity, accurately. Sometimes, more tests are conducted to be able to confirm brain death, when there are a presence of specific drugs in the individual’s body.
When brain death is diagnosed, why does the person’s heart continue to beat?
The heart can function continuously while it has oxygen. The oxygen provided by the ventilator can enable the heart to beat for a number of hours. Without the assistance of the ventilator the heart will stop to beat.
The possibility of a person to be in a coma?
It is impossible, because a person in a coma, will constantly have brain function and activity. At the incidence of brain death, the brain will completely stop to function, which is irreversible.
Can anything more be done?
Everything possible is done to save a person’s life before the confirmation of brain death. After brain death is diagnosed, nothing can be done.
When a person is diagnosed as brain dead, what happens to him / her?
When brain death is diagnosed, the person will be pronounced legally dead. It is the time which should be stated on his / her death certificate. The removal of the ventilator does not determine the person’s time of death.
Can a person experience pain or suffering after the declaration of brain death?
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The answer is no, when somebody is dead, no suffering or pain is experienced.
What happens after the diagnosis of brain death?
A medical professional will inform you and the family. Certain decisions will be discussed. Some of these decisions may include: the removal of the ventilator and taking a decision concerning organ or / and tissue donation. Just keep in mind that the person is already pronounced legally dead and the removal of the ventilator can’t cause death.