You are here

Brain Death, Paternalism, and the Language of "Death"

Title: Brain Death, Paternalism, and the Language of "Death".
Name(s): Nair-Collins, Michael, author
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Issuance: serial
Date Issued: 2013
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: The controversy surrounding the dead donor rule and the adequacy of neurological criteria for death continues unabated. However, despite disagreement on fundamental theoretical questions, I argue that there is significant (but not complete) agreement on the permissibility of organ retrieval from heart-beating donors. Many disagreements are rooted in disputes surrounding language meaning and use, rather than the practices of transplant medicine. Thus I suggest that the debate can be fruitfully recast in terms of a dispute about language. Given this recasting, I argue that the language used to describe organ donation is misleading and paternalistic. Finally, I suggest that the near-agreement on the permissibility of heart-beating organ retrieval ought to be reconsidered. If the paternalism is not justified, then either the language used to describe organ transplantation must change radically, or it would seem to follow that much of the transplant enterprise lacks ethical justification.
Identifier: FSU_migr_mhs-0038 (IID), 10.1353/ken.2013.0002 (DOI)
Keywords: ethics, brain death, death, donor, organ transplantation, bioethics
Note: Copyright 2013 The Johns Hopkins University Press. This article first appeared in Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal, Vol. 20, Issue 1, 2013, p.53-104.
Citation: Nair-Collins, M. (2013). Brain death, paternalism, and the language of "death". Kennedy Inst Ethics J. 2013 Mar;23(1):53-104.
Subject(s): Bioethics
Medical ethics
Political ethics
Medical policy
Medical sciences
Persistent Link to This Record:
Owner Institution: FSU
Is Part of Series: Behavioral Sciences and Social Medicine Faculty Publications.
Is Part Of: Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal.
Issue: 1, 23

Choose the citation style.
Nair-Collins, M. (2013). Brain Death, Paternalism, and the Language of "Death". Kennedy Institute Of Ethics Journal. Retrieved from