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Can A Person Recover From Being Brain Dead

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What Is Life Support

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The term life support refers to any combination of machines and medication that keeps a persons body alive when their organs would otherwise stop working.

Usually people use the words life support to refer to a mechanical ventilation machine that helps you breathe even if youre too injured or sick for your lungs to keep working.

Another cause for the need of a ventilator is a brain injury that doesnt allow the person to protect their airway or initiate breaths effectively.

Life support is what gives doctors the ability to perform complicated surgeries. It can also prolong life for people who are recovering from traumatic injuries. Life support can also become a permanent necessity for some people to stay alive.

There are many people who have portable ventilators and continue to live a relatively normal life. However, people who are using a life-support device dont always recover. They may not regain the ability to breathe and function on their own.

If a person on a ventilator is in a long-term state of unconsciousness, this can put family members in the difficult situation of choosing whether their loved one should continue to live in an unconscious state with the help of the machine.

Brain Death Is Legal Death

If someone’s brain dead, the damage is irreversible and, according to UK law, the person has died.

It can be confusing to be told someone has brain death, because their life support machine will keep their heart beating and their chest will still rise and fall with every breath from the ventilator.

But they will not ever regain consciousness or start breathing on their own again. They have already died.

Shocking Number Of Patients Not Really Brain Dead

On Behalf of Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish | Feb 13, 2018 | Medical Malpractice

Studies from Canada indicate that approximately 20% of patients misdiagnosed as brain-dead are in fact conscious and have the potential to recover from traumatic brain injuries. This misdiagnosis can have fatal consequences that can result when physicians and loved ones pull the plug on life support systems that are keeping patients alive. New technology that detects brain activity could be the answer.

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How Is Brain Death Related To Organ Donation

In order to be medically able to become an organ donor, an individual must pass away on a ventilator in a hospital. While being brain dead is not the only way this can happen, it is the most frequent condition of those who become organ donors.

Only after someone has been declared brain dead, legally dead, the hospital will contact the local organ procurement organization to begin the consideration of donation. Not until this point is it looked up to see if someone is registered as a donor and/or the family is approached to be asked if they would like their loved one to be a donor.

Once a legal record of donor registration is found and/or a family has consent then the organ donation process will begin. If someone is not a registered donor and the family does not consent the person will not become a donor.

Can A Brain Dead Person Recover

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Many times I have heard someone having to pull the plug because the patient was declared brain dead before the body healed fully? Why do they pull the plug without first waiting till the body/brain has a full recovery? What situations if not recoverable would they allow the body to fully heal before pulling the plug?

  • $\begingroup$Hmm… your edit is a different question and kinda breaks the answer. The new answer is “None”. Also, “shortly after trauma” is relative. What do you consider “shortly”?$\endgroup$Aug 16 ’18 at 22:53

Brain death is permanent damage to the brain. Depending on the specific definition, it may refer to either cerebral death or to failure of the brainstem to maintain functions like respiration.

It could be possible for mistakes to be made and for brain death to be declared in a patient who has not actually experienced brain death. However, this is incredibly incredibly rare: zero cases have been reported when appropriate guidelines are followed . If someone is diagnosed as brain dead after a trauma, the medical staff involved in making that decision are stating that there is effectively no chance for recovery. Brain death is not diagnosed lightly.

Wijdicks, E. F., Varelas, P. N., Gronseth, G. S., & Greer, D. M. . Evidence-based guideline update: determining brain death in adults: report of the Quality Standards Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology. Neurology, 74, 1911-1918.

But brain death is much more than a coma.

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What Does Brain Death Mean

Brain death is a legal definition of death. It is the complete stopping of all brain function and cannot be reversed. It means that, because of extreme and serious trauma or injury to the brain, the body’s blood supply to the brain is blocked, and the brain dies. Brain death is death. It is permanent.

Recovery From Brain Death

It is taught that when a brain cell dies, it will not be replaced. The brain cells you are born with will need to last a life-time as new cells will not replace cells that die for whatever reason. Actually, there is now data which supports neurogenesis, a process where new brain cells can be made but that is a story for another day. The belief that a brain that has died will not ever recover led to the Brain Death statutes which allowed for a legal declaration of death for a person who meets certain clinical and laboratory findings indicative of brain death. These statutes allowed for the harvesting of organs for transplant purposes from donors who still had a functioning cardiopulmonary system. Previously, a person had to lose the heart activity in order to be declared dead. This meant that many otherwise useful organs were lost for transplant purposes.

The case of Jahi McMath is still winding its way through the California legal system and it will force a new look at the brain death statute. Unfortunately, this decision will be placed in the hands of a jury which may not have the knowledge, training, experience, or education to competently make this fateful decision.

Judge Pulido has ruled that there is a disputed issue of material fact-is Jahi McMath brain dead under the Uniform Determination of Death Act? Since it is a disputed fact, it will be up to a jury to make this decision. With the denial of the motion, the case is now likely to proceed to a jury trial.

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Attempting To Reverse The Irreversible

The clinical trial will involve a four-step approach. The spinal cords of the brain dead subjects will be injected with stem cells, which are cells that have the ability to differentiate into other cell types, including neurons.

The stem cells minimally manipulated, autologous, adult stem cells derived and expanded from patient fat and/or peripheral blood will serve as some new bricks in the regenerative process, Pastor explained to Medical News Today.

Subjects will also be injected with a peptide called BQ-A derived from ooplasms, the cytoplasm of an egg, or oocyte which Pastor told us will act as the blue print and mortar in the regenerative process.

As well as aiding neuronal growth, Pastor explained that the peptides will help to reprogram and recondition the surrounding tissue at the location where stem cells are injected, and they will also help to target and destroy components of dead tissue.

Once these steps are complete, median nerve stimulation techniques and transcranial laser therapy will be applied to each subject for 15 days, with the aim of spurring connections between the newly formed neurons.

In short, it is our contention that there will be no single magic bullet for success and any traditional single drug approach would be fairly futile. Hence why we are employing this type of combinatorial approach, Pastor told MNT.

Secondarily, he added, we hope the trial will answer certain deeper issues about the human mind.

What Happens To An Individual While These Tests Are Being Done

Is A Brain Dead Person Actually Dead?

The individual is placed on a machine that breathes for him or her, called a ventilator. This machine is needed because the brain can no longer send signals telling the body to breathe. Special medications to help maintain blood pressure and other body functions may also be given. During the brain death testing, the ventilator and medications continue but they do not affect the results of the testing.

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How Is It Decided That An Individual Is Brain Dead

A doctor will do tests to make a diagnosis of brain death. These tests are based on sound and legally accepted medical guidelines. Tests include a clinical examination to show that an individual has no brain reflexes and cannot breathe on his or her own. In some situations, other tests may be needed. You can ask your doctor to explain or show you how brain death was determined for your loved one.

Possibly, an individual may show spinal activity or reflexes such as twitching or muscle contractions. Spinal reflexes are caused by electrical impulses that remain in the spinal column. These reflexes may happen even though the brain is dead.

A Summary Of Tk’s Clinical History

TK’s autopsy report includes a narrative of his clinical history with medical details that will be relevant for the philosophical analysis of brain death that follows below. In brief, TK was born in 1979. When he was four years old, he contracted Haemophilus influenzae meningitis that put him into a coma. While staying in a Nebraska hospital for treatment, he experienced an increase in intracranial pressure so severe that it separated the bony plates of his skull. An EEG revealed no electrocerebral activity, but his family was opposed to his removal from life support.

For several weeks following his initial infection, TK experienced severe temperature and blood pressure fluctuations that required days of dopamine infusion to support his blood pressure. Urine output fluctuated tremendously suggesting that he had diabetes insipidus. There were also dramatic shifts in his serum sodium. After this period of crisis, however, TK’s temperature, blood pressure, urine output, and serum sodium levels became stable.

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Left Ventricular Assist Device

An LVAD is used in cases of heart failure. Its a mechanical device that assists the left ventricle in pumping blood to the body.

Sometimes an LVAD becomes necessary when a person is awaiting a heart transplant. It doesnt replace the heart. It just helps the heart pump.

LVADs can have significant side effects, so a person on the heart transplant list might opt against having one implanted after evaluating their likely wait time and risk with their doctor.

What Does No Brain Activity Mean

Nearly brain

If a person is in a permanent vegetative state but not brain-dead, their life support is keeping them alive with fluids and nutrition.

If these are stopped, it may take anywhere from a few hours to several days for the person’s vital organs to shut down completely according to Healthline.

Life support is what gives doctors the ability to perform complicated surgeries or prolongs people’s lives who are recovering from traumatic incidents.

It can become permanently necessary for people to stay alive.

Some people who are using a life-support device dont always recover and they may not regain the ability to breathe and function on their own.

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Can Dead Brains Be Brought Back To Life First Human Study To Find Out

Last month, a Philadelphia-based biotech company kicked off a clinical trial that pushes the envelope of what it means to be dead.

Armed with ethical approval from the IRB at the Anupam Hospital in India, Bioquark is recruiting 20 patients who have been clinically deemed brain dead from severe traumatic brain injury.

With an arsenal of cutting-edge, if mysterious, treatment techniques stem cells, bioactive molecules, brain and spinal cord stimulation the team hopes to revive parts of the patients basic brain functions, with the eventual holy grail goal of returning the ability to breathe on their own.

The anticipated deadline for measurable results? A short 15 days.

Let that sink in.

If your first reaction is incredulity, youre not alone. What is this, The Lazarus Effect, Frankenstein, The Walking Dead? Some sort of viral campaign for an upcoming horror flick?

Not quite. A horde of zombies may not be in our future, but Bioquarks goals are to cheat death. Heres what the stunningly ambitious ReAnima project plans to do.

The Tricky Business of Defining Death

We often think of death as flipping a switch: one minute youre there, the next minute its all lights go out.

Brain death, in contrast, is final. The diagnosis signals a complete and irreversible destruction of the brain, including the brain stem. Brain dead individuals arent comatose or in a vegetative state. They have no hope for spontaneous recovery. Theyre dead.

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About Brain Stem Death

Brain stem death is when a person no longer has any brain stem functions, and has permanently lost the potential for consciousness and the capacity to breathe.

When this happens, a ventilator keeps the person’s heart beating and oxygen circulating through their bloodstream.

A person is confirmed as being dead when their brain stem function is permanently lost.

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Brain Restoration System Explores Hazy Territory Between Being Dead Or Alive

An experiment that restored cellular function to pigs brains hours after death holds the potential for advancing neuroscience research

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One of the two legal definitions of death is irreversible cessation of all brain function, commonly known as brain death. It was widely believed that brain cells undergo rapidand irreversibledegeneration immediately after death. But a striking new study, in Nature, suggests that much functionality can be preserved or restoredeven hours after death. A research team, based primarily at the Yale School of Medicine, managed to revive some functions in the whole brains of pigs slaughtered four hours previously and to sustain them for a further six hours.

The work was motivated by the observation that cells can be harvested from postmortem brains and sustained in cell cultures for study, neuroscientist and team leader Nenad Sestan said in a press briefing: In short, if we can do this in a petri dish, can we do it in an intact brain? The system Sestan and his colleague developed, called BrainEx, comprises three elements: a computerized system of pumps, filters and reservoirs a blood substitute containing no cells but capable of carrying oxygen, along with numerous compounds designed to protect cells and a surgical procedure to hook everything up.

What Does Brain Dead Mean

Miraculous recovery for 13-year-old declared brain dead

Brain death is when no brain function exists, causing death.

Brain death results from “swelling in the brain where blood flow in the brain ceases and without blood to oxygenate the cells and the tissue dies” according to Life Source.

Once brain tissue dies, there is nothing that can be done to heal it.

When a person deteriorates to brain death, the bodys entire system stops.

The brain death victim cannot breathe, their heart cannot beat and their body cannot function once the brain dies.

Brain death is a rare event that occurs in one out of every 200 hospital deaths

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Are There Drugs That Can Stop The Brain From Working And Give A False Diagnosis

Certain drugs can mask brain function, such as muscle relaxants and sedatives. Testing can only be done when the individual has low levels of these drugs in the body. It may be necessary to wait for these levels to go down. The doctor can then accurately measure brain activity. Sometimes, other tests are done to confirm brain death if certain drugs are present in the body.

Other Brain Death Testing

After completing the physical assessment, the physician may elect to order additional testing. While it is typical for both a physical assessment and an apnea test to be done, some people who are not brain dead cannot tolerate apnea testing. Often, in those cases, a flow study will be done. These studies are done to see if blood is traveling to the brain through the bloodstream. If the study shows that no blood is reaching the brain, the test is consistent with brain death.

Some physicians will use an EEG, or electroencephalogram, which is a test that measures brain waves. A person who is brain dead will have a “flat” EEG, as brain waves will be absent.

Atropine, a prescription medication that causes the heart rate to increase, an also be administered as an ancillary test for brain death because it is not effective in brain dead individuals. If the heart rate increases notably after the medication is given, this suggests that a person is not brain dead.

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Brain Death Is Not The Same As Coma

Brain death differs from other states of unconsciousness in important ways. For example, coma is similar to deep sleep, except that no amount of external stimuli can prompt the brain to become awake and alert. However, the person is alive and recovery is possible. Brain death is often confused with a persistent vegetative state, but these conditions are not the same either. A persistent vegetative state means the person has lost higher brain functions, but their undamaged brain stem still allows essential functions like heart rate and respiration to continue. A person in a vegetative state is alive and may recover to some degree, given time. Brain death means the person has died.

How Brain Death Occurs

bioethics72 / Defining Death

Brain death can occur when the blood and/or oxygen supply to the brain is stopped. This can be caused by:

  • cardiac arrest when the heart stops beating and the brain is starved of oxygen
  • heart attack a serious medical emergency that occurs when the blood supply to the heart is suddenly blocked
  • stroke a serious medical emergency that occurs when the blood supply to the brain is blocked or interrupted
  • blood clot a blockage in a blood vessel that disturbs or blocks the flow of blood around your body

Brain death can also occur as a result of:

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