What happens to a body after brain death?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Good afternoon:

If you have been wondering how long a brain-dead body can last on a ventilator and what sort of changes occur in the body over time, here is an article by Rachael Rettner in Live Science that provides a good explanation.

19 Responses to What happens to a body after brain death?

  1. ed nelson says:

    Any death of a loved one is hard to bare.

    Nowadays the technologie exists to keep folks alive, if they can get the tube in soon enough… before too long that is… before they start to cool off!

    any death of a loved one, yours, or mine! We don’t harken to it with out having some issues… I guess.

    I don’t know what to say to the parents of the lovely girl. But they need to get real.

    Those people might not be up to speed on what it is! That’s right!

    The people (parents), may not be aware of how all the science on it comes down, like: what is Brain Dead?, What do that mean? and, how would you, me or they know anything about that?

    What are you going to do for these types of folks to alleviate their horrid emotional gauntlet, visevise this highly publicized event?


    I think we should be nice to the parents, they are in a kind of sad place, lost their lovely girl. They are in some kind of ”pre mourning situation, I think, they still don’t get it that the girl is gonners.

  2. fauxmccoy says:

    children’s hospital’s response to court regarding care of jahi mcmath. warning — this is difficult reading, but details the specific deterioration the body is experiencing in slo mo as well as some of the additional medical intervention necessary other than the ventilator.

    Click to access HeidiFlori.pdf

    • William Walton says:

      Faux, as my Dad would tell the mother the girl had expired (passed) and that they should move on to the next phase and plan her funeral. Holding her around is only going to result in further decomposition, so bury her and let her rest in peace.

    • cielo62 says:

      That was very interesting! Maybe I’m just a ghoul but the details didn’t bother me. I really wanted to know. The 2 latest posts I put in recently seem to be showing that the family can no longer deny the obvious. I hope they let that poor girl’s body rest in peace.

      • William Walton says:

        Cielo62, it just depends on whether they are willing to accept the fact that the girl has expired (passed). It will also depend on whether they are willing to move onto the next phase of arranging for a funeral and burial. This may take the counseling of a psycologist or a member of the clergy. Hopefully this will occur but time will tell. This is truly a sad situation.

  3. Ooops, sorry about the double post. It didn’t appear the first time, but the first showed up with the second.. I’ve been having to sign into WordPress every single time I post something too.

  4. Christi O’Connor seems to think that Samantha Scheibe has been subpoenaed for a federal grand jury investigation of Fogen that will take place soon. His supporters have been strangely silent so far today.


  5. Great comments.

    OT here, but some of you many want to know that Christi O’Connor is claiming today that Samantha Scheibe has been subpoenaed for a federal grand jury investigation of Fogen that will take place soon. His supporters have been strangely silent on the subject. Of course she’s not the most reliable source of information, but one can hope!


  6. William Walton says:

    Faux, yes I did have an interesting adventure during my recovery from the subdural hemotoma surgery, I did go visiting with Dad and Mom. Mother was all over my ass because I was dressed in clothes like I wore on the farm. She stated that she would go buy me clothes that would match since I was in a nice hospital. She also stated that I was not to wear the mismatched sweats and sweatshirts that I wore while at the University. Dad on the otherhand was his professional medical self. Daughter stated that oldest son was going to bring me some sweats and I told her that Mother was going to bring some. Daughter stated Dad, Grandma passed away in 1987 so Will is getting them. So I stated OK. Now, there is a great difference between being in a coma and being brain dead. However, a hospital would not want to pull the plug unless it was determined that the patient is brain dead. In my situation, the neuologist saw some signs of brain activity. Thus, I was allowed to remain plugged in, It got more interesting with the statements I made with regards to the surgery. I have never taken human anatomy so I had no idea what I was asking the Neurosurgeon. Yes, I knew what a surgical report was since every surgeon has to write one detailing the surgery. I had seen my Dad write many. With regards to the arteries, veins, etc. I have no idea except I was requesting what I was told to request. When I visted the Neuologist, he asked if Dad has been a Neuologist and I told him no. Dad practiced General Medicine, General Surgery, and Trauma Surgery. Told the Neuologist that Dad and his Surgical sidekick took a Post-Doc in Trauma Surgery at Cook County Hospital. He stated then that my Dad would have known all the questions he asked. Told the Neuologist that he should not become alarmed if he feels a cold finger on his shoulder and a whisper telling him to move to the right or left less he knick an artery or vein. He stated that I had a wierd sense of humor but could tell I grew up around medicine. Also told me not to go there since he was still spooked with my comments coming out ot the coma. Here is one for your Mom. Dad and his surgical sidekick Davies were never referred to as Doctor. Dad was BC and Davies was Davies. Several of nurses stated that when Dad would enter the OR. he would pick up the scapel and state OK ladies lets go to work and you too Davies.

  7. William Walton says:

    Bettykath, left a response to your 01/04 response concerning ether masks. You might want to read it and you might find it humorous. When I was about 14 years old, Dad stated that I was one of his worst patients since I would not take all the prescription medication if I felt it was not working. I felt lucky since I was only one of the worst and not the worst. He also stated that when I had my appendectomy I was basically a pain in the ass.

    • bettykath says:

      Good story. You were lucky you had your dad to help out, even if he did have wash up 2-3 times. I was about 3 when my tonsils were removed and I can still see that mask and the nurses around me holding me down and I can hear the male voice saying, “Hold her still!” Anything that wasn’t held down was flailing. The ether mask was a dark yellow brown and I haven’t seen one since. The ether mask was a good reason to stay healthy.

      • William Walton says:

        I have to laugh at times imagining him having to go through what he had to go through with washing, gowning, masking, and gloving just to get back to perfoming the surgery he was scheduled to perform. I have often thought that I hoped his surgical patient was under when all this was going on. Glad you enjoyed my response, however, having read yours I thought you might.

  8. William Walton says:

    Prof, as my Dad would debate with other physicians “we must come to terms with the question are we prolonging life or just interfering with nature and prolonging the death process? His feeling was that in many cases it was more humane to the patient to just let nature take her course. The trac discussion was interesting in that a trac is placed outside the body in the very lower portion of the neck. I have a scar in the very lower portion of the neck from my trac from when I had the brain surgery for the subdural hemotoma. Another point, Dad would encourage physicians, interns, residents, nurses, etc. to learn to talk to patients. He would take whatever time it took talking to a patient to determine if he had obtained all the data needed. His philosophy was that the patient had to be made comfortable being in the environment they found themselves talking to a physician because they did not want to be there to begin with because of fear of finding out that something was seriously wrong. This attitude does not help the physician in coming to a diagnosis. As an example he had a lady patient who he spent some time talking to and she finally stated that at times she would pass blood when she urinated. Admitted her to the hospital for further testing which showed she had a precancerous lesion on one of her kidneys. It was removed and pathologically was found to be precancerous. This may shed some light on this case in that the child and/or the parents did not share all the characteristics of the childs condition/conditions with the medical staff. It could also indicate that the medical staff unlike Dad did not/would not take the time to go into an indepth assessment of the childs condition.

  9. fauxmccoy says:

    hoping that this family can find what it needs to be able to say their good byes.

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