What does brain dead mean? - ProProfs Discuss
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What does brain dead mean?

Asked by I. Muller, Last updated: Jul 10, 2020

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2 Answers

Anika Nicole

Content Writer, Teacher

Anika Nicole, Wordsmith, PG In Journalism, New York

Answered Oct 11, 2018

Have you ever wondered why a doctor says that a person is brain-dead? Did you ever try to figure out what brain death actually means? Is brain death the same as the death of a person? You will get all your answers here one by one. Just read this answer carefully.

Yes, brain death is equivalent to death. Confused? Let me explain! Most people think that death happens when our heart stops beating and our lungs stop functioning properly i.e. breathing. Reality is contradictory as it is believed that the functions of these organs can still be continued via machines after the death of a person. And it gives an illusion that the person is still alive. In such cases, doctors need to check the brain of that person as it can only analyze whether the person is still alive or not. However, doctors also turn the ventilator off to check the reality.

There are some people who misinterpret brain death as coma. Actually, both are not the same. When someone is in a coma, there are chances of recovery for that person. It’s just, that person is in an unconscious state. But, in case of a brain death, that person is dead. It occurs when someone is completely on life support after a heart attack or stroke.


Brain dead means that the brain has completely lost the brainstem function and the person is not alive, he/she is dead. It is still an unacceptable concept as many people find this concept hard to grasp.


E. Stanley

E. Stanley, Technical writer, Indianapolis

Answered Sep 25, 2018

Brain dead means that a person’s brain is no longer functioning. Doctors confirm brain death by a formal brain-death evaluation that typically take about twenty minutes to perform. First they will test to see if the person responds to something that can cause pain. They next check for brain stem reflexes such as pupil dilation and coughing or gagging when the vocal chords are stimulated.

Lastly, the patient will be disconnected from the respirator which is often used to keep the patient’s organs alive. When disconnected from a respirator, carbon dioxide levels in the blood will rise and if the brain is alive, the brain will be stimulated by the levels. I believe it takes two doctors to check for brain death


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