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Brain Death: Past, Present and Future

Sometimes it is been said, that the concept of brain death was “invented” in Boston 1968 for the only purpose of organ donation. – The first part (“past”) clarifies, that the concept of brain death has been elaborated in Europe between 1952 and 1960 without any correlation to the development of organ transplantation. The second part (“present”) deals with the acceptance of brain death in common, especially from an actual German point of view. In this regard, there are at least two dialectical postulates: whereas most countries (including Germany) choose a legal regulation, the British are in favour of a genuine responsibility of the individual physicians. Such an opinion goes back to the Pope’s speech in 1957. The third part (“future”) reflects how to mitigate ongoing problems accepting the entity of brain death by soft skills, simple language, empathy and persistence on a personal base of 447 determinations of brain death during the last 25 years.


Dag Moskopp*

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