Policies to determine brain death vary widely from hospital to hospital, reveals research

Policies to determine brain death vary widely from hospital to hospital, reveals research

A research has revealed that policies to verify brain death differs vastly from hospital to hospital and policies are full of lapses. The rules to ascertain brain death vary broadly from one hospital to another, even though national standards exist.

The research has discovered that the hospital policies to determine brain death are astonishingly conflicting and don’t comply with parameters decided by health authorities.

The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) came up with a clear and detailed set of guidelines in 2010 to differentiate a brain-dead patient from one who might come out of coma. The motive behind the written guidelines was to make judgment 100% accurate and to make one completely confident on whatever call is made.

However, researchers have discovered lapses in the policies, though they have found legitimate reports of any patient ever being marked as brain dead when the case was not true actually. Even then, it is must that doctors make evaluations with total certainty.

Lead study author, David Greer, a neurologist from Yale University, said, “That's why we want to provide a very high level of accountability for this, and that's why we created the guidelines to be so specific, so straightforward and cookbook”.

With a motive to determine how well the guidelines have been adopted, researchers reviewed the brain death policies of 508 hospitals. The hospitals represented a majority of the hospitals in all 50 states that have the permission and are well equipped to conclude brain death in a patient.

In other news AJC reported, it was exactly midnight when Colleen Burns was wheeled into the operating room at St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center in Syracuse, N.Y. She had been deep in a coma for several days after overdosing on a toxic cocktail of drugs. Scans of electrical activity in her brain were poor, and oxygen didn’t seem to be flowing. Burns was brain dead, her family was told; if they wanted to donate her organs, now was the time to do it.

But there, under the bright lights of the prep room in the OR, Burns opened her eyes. The 41-year-old wasn’t brain dead. She wasn’t even unconscious anymore. And doctors had been minutes away from cutting into her to remove her organs.

In a statement provided to NPR, are hospitals doing everything they should to make sure they don't make mistakes when declaring patients brain-dead? A provocative study finds that hospital policies for determining brain death are surprisingly inconsistent and that many have failed to fully implement guidelines designed to minimize errors.

"This is truly one of those matters of life and death, and we want to make sure this is done right every single time," says David Greer, a neurologist at the Yale University School of Medicine who led the study.

Policies to determine brain death vary widely from hospital to hospital and there are lapses in the policies, research reveals. The rules to establish brain death vary widely from on hospital to another, despite the existence of national standards. New research has found that the hospital policies to determine brain death are surprisingly inconsistent and do not comply with parameters set by health authorities, according to a report from the I4U.

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