Are Hospitals Prematurely Ending Life for Organs? – Heidi Klessig, M.D.

Published February 7, 2024
You see the reports in the news all the time, a patient on life support has given the “gift of life” by donating organs. Few people realize but organ donors needs to be alive to do this.  Hospitals can legally declare people with a brain death diagnosis allowing them to take their vital organs for transplant.  Dr. Heidi Klessig is author of The Brain Death Fallacy.  She discusses whether brain death is irreversible and how the organ transplant business has grown since the decision in 1968 to include brain function in the legal definition of death.
Klessig: “People defined to be brain dead or dead by neurological criteria have beating hearts, digest food, excrete urine, and even gestate pregnancies and deliver healthy babies. These people are not biologically dead, and their spirits have not departed. Brain death is not death. Many people who were diagnosed as being brain dead have recovered. If brain death was real death, people should not recover even once.”
Klessig also discusses the Uniform Declaration of Death Act, and how New Jersey is the only state that allow families to demand treatment for patients declared “brain dead.”  Patients and families can take measures before a crisis to make sure hospitals do not violate their wishes when it comes to life and death issues.  For more information, see