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Are you dead when your brain dies?

Last Updated Jan 3, 2019 at 10:57 am EDT

(Photo: KATERYNA KON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/GETTY IMAGES)

Maybe Taquisha McKitty died in September, 2017 at age 27, when she was declared brain dead after a drug overdose. Or maybe she died just three days ago, 15 months later, aged 28 when her heart finally stopped beating.

The legal fight around the Brampton mother’s diagnosis touched on everything that chills us about the ends of our lives, the chasm between modern medicine and religion and what happens to us when we’re at the mercy of the system—and the arguments in this case eventually made their way to Ontario’s highest court.

What happens when doctors declare you dead, but you’re still moving? What happens when you claim that your faith dictates your loved one receive valuable medical resources, even though science shows that person is clearly beyond help? Even though McKitty is gone, a decision may be coming that sets a precedent about how we define death, and what—if any—rights we have once we’re “gone”.

THE BIG STORY PODCAST GUEST: Cristina Howorun, Reporter, CityNews

Today’s Podcast – How do we define death?

 

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