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Conscience in health care and the definitions of death

Conscience in health care and the definitions of death

Croatian Medical Journal 54(1): 75-77

Brain death or neurologic death has gradually become recognized as human death over the past decades worldwide. Nevertheless, in Japan, the New York State, and the State of New Jersey, death is declared based not on brain death criteria, but on cardio-pulmonary criteria. In Japan, the 1997 Organ Transplant Law legalized brain death determination exclusively when organs were to be procured from brain-dead patients. Even after 2009 law revision, the default definition of death continued to be based on cardio-pulmonary criteria, despite the criticism. The cases of Japan and the United States provide a good reference as social experiments of appreciating conscientious or religio-cultural dimensions in health care. This text theoretically examines the 1997 organ transplant law of Japan and its 2009 revision, presenting some characteristics of Japan's case compared to American cases and the implications its approach has for the rest of the world. This is an example in which a foreign idea that did not receive widespread support from Japanese citizens was transformed to fit the religio-cultural landscape.

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Accession: 052302663

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PMID: 23444250

DOI: 10.3325/cmj.2013.54.75

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