Oct 1, 2020
In 1968 a committee at Harvard Medical School met to lay down the groundwork for a new definition of death, one that was no longer confined to the irreversible cessation of cardiopulmonary function but a new concept based on neurological criteria. Over the next 50 years, the debate over the concept of brain death has never really gone away. Rather cases like Jahi McMath have raised issues of the legitimacy of the neurologic criteria. On today's podcast, we talk with one of the leading international thought leaders on Brain Death, Dr. Robert Troug. Robert is the Glessner Lee Professor of Medical Ethics, Anaesthesiology & Pediatrics and Director of the Center for Bioethics at Harvard Medical School. He has also authored multiple articles on this topic including the Hastings Center Brain Death at Fifty: Exploring Consensus, Controversy, and Contexts and these from JAMA: - The 50-Year Legacy of the Harvard Report on Brain Death - Understanding Brain Death - Brain Death—Moving Beyond Consistency in the Diagnostic Criteria In addition to talking about how Robert got interested in the topic of brain death, we discuss the history of the concept of brain death, how we diagnose it and the variability we see around this, the recent JAMA publication from the World Brain Death Project, why brain death is not biologic death (and what is it then) and what the future is for the concept of brain death.