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Can You Be Brain Dead And Still Breathe

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How Can Someone Who Is Brain Dead Still Seem To Be Alive

Green Day – Still Breathing [Official Music Video]

During the process of brain death, someones skin can still feel warm and look pink, and their chest will be moving. This is because they are connected to a ventilator, and the heart can continue to beat as long as it receives oxygen. Once the brain has died though, the kidneys, liver and eventually the heart will fail over a period of hours to days.

How Long Can The Brain Last Without Oxygen

Time is very important when an unconscious person is not breathing. Permanent brain damage begins after only 4 minutes without oxygen, and death can occur as soon as 4 to 6 minutes later. Machines called automated external defibrillators can be found in many public places, and are available for home use.

Donors After Cardiac Death Are Not Really Dead

Over the past 15 years, as the shortage of organs for transplantation has become more acute, there has been an increasing emphasis on donation after cardiac death . Patients who have severe brain injuries but who are not brain dead may still be organ donors if the patient, by advance directive, or the patient’s family decides that life support should be withdrawn. After that decision is made, consent for organ donation is obtained. The patient is brought to the operating room, life support is withdrawn, and when the heart stops after a few minutes to an hour without ventilation or other support, the physician observes the patient for a few minutes to ensure that the heart does not start beating again spontaneously. If there continues to be no circulation for 25 minutes, the physician pronounces the patient dead. At this point, the transplant team enters the operating room and removes organs, usually the kidneys and liver, from the now dead patient.

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Ruling Out Other Conditions

Before testing for brain death can begin, doctors must carry out a series of checks to make sure that the symptoms are not being caused by other factors. Possible factors include:

  • an overdose of illegal drugs, tranquillisers, poisons or other chemical agents
  • having an abnormally low body temperature
  • having a condition that can affect the metabolism , such as diabetes or liver disease, which can be connected to alcohol abuse and obesity

Once these have been ruled out, tests are carried out to confirm brain death. The diagnosis of brain death has to be made by two senior doctors. Neither of them can be involved with the hospital’s transplant team.

The doctors will explain the tests to you and will keep you informed about your loved one’s condition at all times.

Brain Death Is Legal Death

How long can a brain dead person survive?

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.

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Can A Person Die While On Life Support

While patients are on life support: Some people die in the ICU while they are on life support. Their injury or illness could not be fixed, and life support was not strong enough to keep them alive. For deaths that are expected, families and providers often decide to allow natural death.

How Long Is The Max A Human Body Can Be Dead Before Being Revived Through Cpr Etc

Originally posted by: dullardOf course they were never really dead – but just were missing some of the critical functions that will eventually lead to death.

Originally posted by: Mwilding

Originally posted by: dullardOf course they were never really dead – but just were missing some of the critical functions that will eventually lead to death.

Originally posted by: Mwilding

Originally posted by: dullardOf course they were never really dead – but just were missing some of the critical functions that will eventually lead to death.

My definition of dead is that you cannot be revived. Some people’s definition of dead is no pulse and no breathing – but of course that simply means your heart and lungs aren’t doing their job, it doesn’t mean you are dead.

Originally posted by: MwildingA patient undergoing open heart surgery often spends up to an hour with their heart disconnected from their body, no respiration and no brain activity. Are they dead? I guess the answer is no, but you wonder why these guys think they are god…

Originally posted by: dullard

Originally posted by: MwildingA patient undergoing open heart surgery often spends up to an hour with their heart disconnected from their body, no respiration and no brain activity. Are they dead? I guess the answer is no, but you wonder why these guys think they are god…

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The Patient Cant Breathe On Their Own

One major telltale sign of brain death is that the mechanism in the brain that keeps you breathing when youre not conscious wont kick in. That means to get a diagnosis of brain death, doctors will often see if a patient can breathe unassisted, notes the National Kidney Foundation.

During the tests to determine brain dead status, the patient is placed on a ventilator and may be given medications to maintain blood pressure and other bodily functions. During the brain death testing, the ventilator and medications continue but they do not affect the results of the testing, it notes.

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  • 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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    The Patient Shows No Signs Of Recovery

    As we mentioned before, brain death is not the same as a coma, although they may appear the same to someone watching from the outside. USAToday posted an article in 2014 explaining the key differences between brain death, coma, and vegetative state, which seem to be terms used interchangeably.

    As noted before, brain death is the absence of brain activity, with no hope for revival the patient is clinically dead. A coma is an eyes-closed, depressed consciousness from which they cannot be aroused, but there are purposeful brain stem responses and spontaneous breathing. A vegetative state means the patient is alive but has severely impaired consciousness. The eyes may open in the latter condition, but the patient wont be aware of their surroundings. Sources note about 50-percent of patients in a vegetative state wake up after a month, but will often have ongoing impairments.

    An Internal Medicine Doctor Explains What Life

    A person is declared brain dead, but the family insists on keeping that person on a ventilator.

    They believe that as long as the heart beats , that their family member is alive and cant possibly be dead.

    What else besides heartbeat can a brain dead body do while being prevented from decomposing via the ventilator ?

    First off, the hair and nails will continue to grow, get longer.

    At this point , all we are doing is keeping the individual cells and organs of the body alive, says Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, medical director of the Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Centers nationally, and author of The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution.

    So hair will grow, nails will grow, and urination will continue.

    Interestingly, in the Jahi McMath case, the day-by-day reports have never mentioned anything about a catheter to collect urine, even though Jahis kidneys were allegedly functioning, leading to excrement.

    And if the kidneys are working, the liver, pancreas and entire G.I. tract must also be working. Seems that the body, then, was alive, right?

    Dr. Teitelbaum says, Meanwhile, the muscles will atrophy and shrink, the body will get severe contractures and bed sores, and the process that occurs after burial occurs instead, in a hospital bed, albeit more slowly.

    So even though some of the bodys systems are functioning, the PERSON is dead. The person as a whole, is dead.

    The body can continue to do most of the basic metabolic functioning on life support, says Dr. Teitelbaum.

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    Can A Dead Person Cry

    After death, there may still be a few shudders or movements of the arms or legs. There could even be an uncontrolled cry because of muscle movement in the voice box. Sometimes there will be a release of urine or stool, but usually only a small amount since so little has probably been eaten in the last days of life.

    Brain Death Is Not The Same As Coma

    What Brain Death Is and Why It Matters

    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.

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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.

    How Brain Death Is Diagnosed

    There is more to the loss of consciousness than not being awake. Sleep and coma, for example, each involves the loss of consciousness and are largely defined by the time it takes to return to consciousness. Even a person in a persistent vegetative state has the possibility, albeit slight, of waking up.

    Brain death is different. As the term suggests, brain death indicates that there is no brain activity and, as such, no hope of recovery. Medically speaking, brain death is the definitive diagnosis of death.

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    Quick Answer: How Long Can A Brain Dead Person Live

    Today, with ventilators, blood-pressure augmentation and hormones, the body of a brain-dead person could, in theory, be kept functioning for a long time, perhaps indefinitely, Greene-Chandos said.03-Jan-2014

    When does a person die from brain death?

    • In the United States and many other countries, a person is legally dead if he or she permanently loses all brain activity or all breathing and circulatory functions.

    After Brain Death Is Declared What Happens Next

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    A health care professional will talk with you and your family about certain decisions that need to be made at this time. Among those decisions could be removing the ventilator and the possibility of organ and/or tissue donation.

    Remember, the individual is already legally dead and removing the ventilator does not cause death.

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    Confirmatory Testing As Indicated

    When the full clinical examination, including both assessments of brain stem reflexes and the apnoea test, is conclusively performed, no additional testing is required to determine brain death.

    In some patients, skull or cervical injuries, cardiovascular instability, or other factors may make it impossible to complete parts of the assessment safely. In such circumstances, a confirmatory test verifying brain death is necessary. These tests may also be used to reassure family members and medical staff.

    Any of the suggested tests may produce similar results in patients with catastrophic brain damage who do not fulfill the clinical criteria of brain death. The confirmatory tests are.

    Life After Brain Death: Is The Body Still ‘alive’

    ByRachael Rettner03 January 2014

    A 13-year-old girl in California continues to be on a ventilator after being declared brain-dead by doctors. Although a brain-dead person is not legally alive, how much of the body will keep on working with the help of technology, and for how long?

    Jahi McMath of Oakland, Calif., was declared brain-dead last month after experiencing an extremely rare complication from tonsil surgery. Jahi’s family members have fought to keep their daughter on a ventilator, but a judge has ordered that the machine be turned off next week.

    A person is considered brain-dead when he or she no longer has any neurological activity in the brain or brain stem meaning no electrical impulses are being sent between brain cells. Doctors perform a number of tests to determine whether someone is brain-dead, one of which checks whether the individual can initiate his or her own breath, a very primitive reflex carried out by the brain stem, said Dr. Diana Greene-Chandos, an assistant professor of neurological surgery and neurology at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “It’s the last thing to go,” Greene-Chandos said.

    In the United States and many other countries, a person is legally dead if he or she permanently loses all brain activity or all breathing and circulatory functions. In Jahi’s case, three doctors have concluded that she is brain-dead.

    Greene-Chandos said Jahi’s case is tragic, and as a mother, she is heartbroken for the family.

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    A Higher Brain Standard Of Death

    Clearly, the DDR is incoherent with respect to brain death as currently defined. It could be could be saved as ethical policy, however, by changing the standard from the UDDAs irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem to a higher brain standard, that is, to permanent loss of consciousness, without requiring loss of brain stem function. The single biggest problem with this move, however, is that a higher brain definition of death is no less counterintuitive than the whole brain definition. For example, patients in a persistent vegetative state would fall into this category because they are permanently unconscious, but they breath spontaneously, do not require artificial ventilation, have normal bodily functions, and have wake-sleep cycles in which the eyes remain open in a state of apparent wakefulness and close during what appears to be sleep. These patients do not even vaguely resemble a state of death.

    Causes Of Brain Death

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    Brain death can happen 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
    • a heart attack when the blood supply to the heart is suddenly blocked
    • a stroke when the blood supply to the brain is blocked or interrupted
    • a blood clot a blockage in a blood vessel that disturbs or blocks the flow of blood around your body

    Brain death can also be caused by:

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    Donation After Brain Death

    Families of a brain dead patient must, by federal regulations, be provided the option of organ donation. If the family declines donation, the mechanical ventilator, medications and fluids are discontinued, after which the heart stops. If the family says yes to donation, the regional organ procurement organization is involved. The donors body is kept functioning by artificial means, such as ventilated support until the recovery of organs and tissue for life-saving transplant.

    If you support donation it is important to document your decision. This removes the burden off of your loved ones to make the decision once you have passed away.

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    Establishing The Absence Of Brainstem Reflexes

    Brainstem reflexes are automatic responses that are no different to the knee-jerk tests given at the doctor’s office. They are reflexive actions that indicate whether a person’s neurological functions are normal, abnormal, or absent.

    A person is considered brain-dead if he or she fails to respond to all of the following reflex stimuli:

    • Lack of pupillary reflex means that the person’s pupils do not respond in any way when a light is shined on them. If the person were alive, the pupils would get smaller.
    • Lack of corneal reflex means that the person does not blink and have any response when the doctor touches the eye with a cotton swab or a drop of water.
    • Lack of oculocephalic reflex means the person’s eyes will not fixate on the examiner’s face when his or her head is moved from side to side.
    • Lack of the gag reflex means that the person will not gag, cough, or react when the back of the throat is touched with a cotton swab or a suction device.
    • Lack of response to cold caloric testing means that the person will not respond when ice water is squirted into the ear. If the person were alive, the stimuli would cause the person’s eyes to move in the opposite direction as it effectively “tricks” the inner ear into thinking that the person is spinning.

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