brain death


Definition of brain death

: final cessation of activity in the central nervous system especially as indicated by a flat electroencephalogram for a predetermined length of time

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Examples of brain death in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Collectively, the research proved that brain death wasn’t a single event. Matthew Shaer, New York Times, "Scientists Are Giving Dead Brains New Life. What Could Go Wrong?," 2 July 2019 Because time is crucial between legal death and brain death, Suspended Animation, a Boynton Beach company, operates the cryomobile. Cindy Krischer Goodman,, "Frozen for eternity: Can you really cheat death?," 26 July 2019 In Pennsylvania and most other states, a patient who suffers from complete, irreversible brain death may be declared legally dead and removed from life support. Tom Avril,, "CHOP physicians testify in court that N.J. boy is 'brain-dead'," 9 May 2018 He or she must be hospitalized and on life support, usually due to an unexpected illness or accident, such as a brain aneurysm, stroke or severe head trauma leading to brain death. WSJ, "Slippery Slope of Human Organ Harvesting," 21 June 2019 Now, the American Academy of Neurology maintains a checklist that clinicians use to judge brain death in patients. Michael Greshko, National Geographic, "Pig brains partially revived hours after death—what it means for people," 17 Apr. 2019 In both cases, the boys were deprived of oxygen to the extent that Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia reached a grim diagnosis: brain death. Tom Avril,, "At CHOP, two boys were diagnosed with brain death. Here's what that means," 24 May 2018 Jahi McMath, the Oakland, Calif., teenager whose brain death made national news after her family refused to accept the ruling and fought to keep her on a ventilator, died June 22, a family attorney said. Breanna Edwards, The Root, "Jahi McMath, Teen Who Was Declared Brain-Dead Almost 5 Years Ago, Has Died," 29 June 2018 Under state law, if a patient’s faith dictates that life persists so long as the heart is beating, then brain death alone is not sufficient for a legal declaration of death. Mari A. Schaefer,, "Declared brain dead almost 5 years ago, Calif. teen's life finally ends in N.J.," 29 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'brain death.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of brain death

1921, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for brain death

Last Updated

11 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for brain death

The first known use of brain death was in 1921

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More Definitions for brain death

brain death


English Language Learners Definition of brain death

medical : the condition of having no brain function : the end of activity in the brain

brain death


Medical Definition of brain death

: final cessation of activity in the central nervous system especially as indicated by a flat electroencephalogram for a predetermined length of time

Other Words from brain death

brain-dead adjective

brain death

\ ˈbrān-ˌdeth\

Legal Definition of brain death

: the final stopping of activity in the central nervous system especially as indicated by a flat electroencephalogram for a usually statutorily predetermined period of time

Other Words from brain death

brain-dead \ ˈbrān-​ˌded How to pronounce brain-dead (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on brain death

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with brain death

Nglish: Translation of brain death for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about brain death

Comments on brain death

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concealed or difficult to comprehend

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