J Med Ethics 16:8-9 doi:10.1136/jme.16.1.8
  • Research Article

Danish ethics council rejects brain death as the criterion of death -- commentary 1: wanting it both ways.


In this commentary on the recommendations of the Danish Council of Ethics (DCE) concerning criteria for death it is argued that whilst the DCE is correct in stressing the cultural aspects of death, its adoption of cardiac-oriented criteria raises several problems. There are problems with its notion of a 'death process', which purportedly begins with brain death and ends with cessation of cardiac function, and there are serious problems regarding its commitment to a cardiac-oriented definition whilst permitting transplantation when the heart is still beating.