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CHARLTON: The dead reckoning with reckoning with death

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By Dave Charlton

When is a person dead?

That sounds like a rather silly question, but advances in medical technology have made the question not only appropriate, but also difficult to answer.

Consider the case of 13-year-old Jahi McMath. Jahi’s case has attracted international attention in recent weeks. Shortly after surgery last Dec. 9 at Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Oakland, Calif., for a tonsillectomy, she experienced excessive bleeding, a cardiac arrest and then severe brain damage.


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