Understanding Brain Death

Statement Opposing Brain Death Criteria

Below is a position statement, signed by over 120 people from 19 nations, including physicans, philosophers, and theologians, opposing brain death criteria for human death. It has been released through the auspices of Earl Appelby, Jr. of Citizens United Resisting Euthanasia (cureltd@ix.netcom.com; he would have the most updated list of those who signed the statement), but those who signed the list are a very diverse group. I hope that the list both stimulates discussion and makes the wider community aware that there are a large number of individuals who believe that there are good reasons for opposing brain death criteria.

Michael Potts, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Philosophy, Methodist College, Fayetteville, NC; personal e-mail: mpotts20@hotmail.com

"Brain Death" - Enemy of Life and Truth

Pope John Paul II's August 29, 2000, address to the International Congress of the Transplantation Society has awakened renewed interest in the ongoing controversies surrounding "brain death" and organ transplantation. Inasmuch as these controversies quite literally involve matters of life and death physical and spiritual, a clear understanding of their nature is vital to the survival of both life and truth, life's guardian. Since the question of organ transplantation cannot be properly judged either logically or ethically in the absence of what the Pope describes as "a scientifically secure means of identifying the biological signs that a person has indeed died" (4), we must first examine the concept of "brain death," which serves as the rationalization for the removal of vital organs from those described as "donors."

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