I was reading a scholarly article about the definition of death and how it is perplexing the organ-transplant industry...
Death in such cases is therefore based on a decision not to resuscitate, not the impossibility of resuscitation. And their hypothetical case does seem to be happening more frequently in reality. In America, data from the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, an organisation that matches donors to recipients, show that those classified as cardiac-dead but not brain-dead represent the fastest growing proportion of donors, having risen from zero ten years ago to 7% in 2006.
Dr Truog and Dr Miller reckon this gerrymandering of the division between life and death will continue as long as doctors have to abide by the dead-donor rule—that although a living person can consent to have a non-vital organ removed for transplant (a single kidney, for example) vital organs can be removed only from dead bodies. Instead, they propose that someone whose brain is devastatingly and irreversibly damaged, and who has previously given his informed consent, should be able to donate vital organs while still alive.
In practice, says Dr Truog, this would not differ much from what happens now, except that doctors would be released from the temptation to fudge the definition of death, or to accelerate it by, for example, withdrawing life-sustaining treatment. Indeed, the British government is considering changing the regulations in a way that would allow just that to happen. [More]
And all I could think of was this.
Seriously, I think this makes me a bad person.