MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Although brain death is the complete, irreversible cessation of brain functions necessary to sustain life, family members are often confused or still hopeful when a loved one is declared “brain dead.”
Detailed clinic exams performed by two different physicians, as well as ancillary testing such as EEG and radionuclide cerebral blood flow scan, confirm the diagnosis. But the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) thinks they need to do better.
“Despite the overwhelming medical consensus that brain death is irreversible and not compatible with life, there’s always a random extended family member encouraging the immediate family to continue futile medical care,” AAN chair Dr. Hype O. Thalamus tells GomerBlog.
So the AAN, in collaboration with Family’s Opinions of Science (FOS), created an additional criteria: random out-of-town relative who took one undergrad neuroscience class must concur with the brain death diagnosis.
The immediate family at the bedside will appoint a Wise Tactful Family member (WTF). This family member must:
● Live out-of-town and only be reachable after regular business hours via pre-paid cell phone.
● Have completed one neuroscience course, such as Intro to Psych or The Brain 101. Online courses applicable, and graduation from college not required.
● Know a few big words such as “persistent vegetation state” or “organ curement.”
● Own a bottle of essential oils or a bag of healing crystals.
● Bonus: dated a CNA or paramedic.
The medical team then only needs to communicate with the WTF, and convince them their deeply beloved distant relative they haven’t seen in 15 years is indeed dead. Then the family will feel secure in the withdrawal of care. And the WTF will rest soundly knowing their pseudo-medical knowledge went to good use.