Tuesday, March 5, 2013

C'mon - Another Reporting Error About Life Support

In a March 1st report in the Las Vegas Sun about the tragic death of a 7-yr old beaten to death by his mother and stepfather in Las Vegas http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2013/mar/01/pathologist-says-beating-victim-7-had-53-areas-bod/, error # 2 and error #3 (see March 3, 2013 www.transplantexpert.blogspot.com) were both committed. Although the report indicates that the boy was declared brain dead on Nov. 30, 2012, elsewhere it indicates that he was removed from(error # 2), and died Dec. 3 (error #3) after being removed from "life support" (error #2).

To be clear, he died on Nov. 30, when he was declared brain dead. Once declared brain dead, he was kept on artificial support, (as his life could not be sustained).

Although these details may seem minor, they are not because the terminology is indeed quite confusing. Without a consistent message that brain death = death of the human being whose life has ended (and therefore can no longer be supported), it is difficult to expect full, sub-conscious acceptance of this concept. The time for responsible use of very specifically defined terminology has come. The time to hold our journalists to task has also come.


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