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Pregnancy, Brain Death, And Posthumous Motherhood: A Provisional Policy Proposal

Jeffrey P. Spike
Published 2014 · Medicine
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that convey emotional information. Facts such as the patient’s neurologic status will change the patient’s life experientially or in a way that family members can relate to. Whether someone has retained the ability to speak, to laugh, or to do what others found endearing, these functions of life both carry great emotional weight and also are easily understandable. Properly engaging families and decision makers on an emotional level prior to the declaration of brain death, during, and afterward is an essential task, and from a Humean perspective the most important task, for achieving a satisfactory outcome and avoiding an ethical disaster. While the philosophical nature of brain death is an important issue to resolve, so is refining the practical way that we deal with brain death in the intensive care setting. By adopting a Humean perspective and viewing emotions as the primary drivers of decision making, and emphasizing the role of the treating physician in addressing these emotions, it may be possible to alleviate the suffering and difficulty surrounding brain death despite the unresolved bioethical concerns surrounding it. &
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