Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Woman recovers from brain death!

See, this is the problem with the whole theory of brain death. Fox News reports, "A woman who was diagnosed as being brain dead has recovered three days after her husband begged doctors to put in a breathing tube before switching off a ventilator at an Australian hospital, the Northern Territory News reported Wednesday."

It's not that there cannot be such a thing as death as determined by neurological criteria.  We do not have to argue about the moral theological and theoretical validity of the hypothesis.  The problem is practical.  Is there a point at which we can judge that the criteria for determining death have been applied rigorously enough to be morally certain of death? If so, what is that point?  It seems to this moral theologian that there is going to have to be more guidance from Catholic physicians that seek to be faithful to the magisterium if we are to have integrity about this.
The doctor in this case said her recovery was a miracle.  Now she is getting around in a wheelchair.  Not bad for a dead person. 
I seem to recall that at some point in history, before embalming came along, strings were placed inside coffins attached to bells on top of the grave so that persons who were buried alive but thought to be dead could signal their revival.  I wonder what the folks in those days would think about some of our medical practices today?

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