An interdisciplinary response to contemporary concerns about brain death determination

Lewis, A.; Bernat, J. L.; Blosser, S.; Bonnie, R. J.; Epstein, L. G.; Hutchins, J.; Kirschen, M. P.; Rubin, M.; Russell, J. A.; Sattin, J. A.; Wijdicks, E. F. M.; Greer, D. M.

Neurology. 2018 Feb 2

Abstract

In response to a number of recent lawsuits related to brain death determination, the American Academy of Neurology Ethics, Law, and Humanities Committee convened a multisociety quality improvement summit in October 2016 to address, and potentially correct, aspects of brain death determination within the purview of medical practice that may have contributed to these lawsuits. This article, which has been endorsed by multiple societies that are stakeholders in brain death determination, summarizes the discussion at this summit, wherein we (1) reaffirmed the validity of determination of death by neurologic criteria and the use of the American Academy of Neurology practice guideline to determine brain death in adults; (2) discussed the development of systems to ensure that brain death determination is consistent and accurate; (3) reviewed strategies to respond to objections to determination of death by neurologic criteria; and (4) outlined goals to improve public trust in brain death determination.

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