The Science and Theology of Death and Organ Donation

Is the determination of death a medical or theological matter? A bioethicist thinks theology has something to offer the conversation on death and organ donation.


This article also expresses some of the ethical questions that arise with these new technologies:

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I often tick people off with my view of organ donations for myself. I am not an organ donor. I’m not worried about being labeled brain dead and killed despite still being alive as in breathing or anything. I just believe that even though a hospital can’t charge for an organ, they obviously can and should be able to charge for the surgery and the one receiving the organ benefits by receiving an organ from someone who has healthy ones. It seems kidneys and livers are the main organs used. The average cost for a liver transplant is around $800k.

Health insurance companies rake in dozens of billions of dollars of profit a year. Tons of people needing organs spent years going unvaccinated, smoking, drinking or having unhealthy lifestyles.

So there would need to be 1 of 2 things in place for me to donate my organ.

1 would be allowing me to set up the parameters of my donation. Such as I want my organs to only go to kids, or not go to anyone with a history of drug and alcohol abuse.

2 I am able to set up a way for financial compensation for my organs being donated after death. The money would go to whoever is my beneficiary. Or either something like a company that handles organ donations know that I am donating my organs so that if my kid needs one in the future, and I’m dead, they will quickly receive one instead of someone receiving one who was not. That there is smaller waiting lists for these companies versus the national list.

But if I can’t get compensated for it or control guidelines on who get it, when I die I want all my organs to go to the worms and fungi.

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Personally I think ONLY brain activity should be the criteria of death and heart beat ignored completely. It is clear you can live while your heart isn’t beating, but brain activity once gone is gone forever.

The best evidence has shown all recoverable coma patients maintain some brain activity, even those previously thought not to have any better measurements showed otherwise.

Then the reverse (the start of brain activity) should be consistently applied to fetuses as determining when life begins for purposes of abortion law.