Death and organ donation

Hospital patient

Hospital patientAt what point do you die? Is it when your heart stops beating? When your brain stops functioning? Some other point?

In Canada, there is no consensus on that, and this is starting to affect organ donor levels. If you die in one end of the country, you might be declared dead when your brain dies, making you a candidate for organ donation. Somewhere else, you might not be declared dead until your heart stops beating, at which point it is harder for your organs to be donated.

No one wants people declared dead prematurely, but 300 people die each year in Canada waiting for organ transplants. Perhaps it is time for a broader national conversation around organ donation, both for consensus on when death occurs and on the benefits of being a donor.