Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Article: Is Death Real?

Esther Landhuis recently published an article, Is Death Real?, University of California, Irvine School of Law, December/January 2023. Provided below is an abstract to the paper:

To report on the impact of the OrganX experiments, I realized I needed a better framework for understanding death, so I asked bioethicist Seema Shah to clarify the basics: In medical and legal terms, how is an organism pronounced dead? Shah had contributed to a 2019 report from the Hastings Center, a bioethics think tank, which asked: “Can death be declared on the basis of severe neurological injury...or is it essentially a social construct that can be defined in different ways?” Her answer made me realize that death is multidimensional and may ultimately be defined more by what people in power agree on rather than by hard-and-fast medical parameters.

Special thanks to Naomi Cahn (Justice Anthony M. Kennedy Distinguished Professor of Law, University of Virginia School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.


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