Episode 032: Is Dead, Dead? Is Brain Death, Death? A Discussion With Dr. Alan Shewmon

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One of the tasks assigned to physicians, and certainly not a task one thinks of when entering medical school, is to verify death. The first time you declare someone dead – for me, it was as a first year resident in the ICU – is a weird feeling because of the finality of it. As with anything you do as a physician for the first time there is some uncertainty that you aren’t “messing up.” But you don’t need to be a doctor to declare someone dead because anyone can tell when someone or something is dead, right?


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