Could the dead hear and feel?

David Naugler dnaugler at
Tue Apr 11 19:37:49 EST 1995

Phnxbmed at (Charles Hokanson) wrote:
> Therefore, back to the original question, Can the dead hear or feel? It 
> would seem to depend on your definition of death.  The woman who 
> underwent the procedure neither heard nor felt while she was "dead' by 
> normal clinical standards.  And the absence of brain wave activity would 
> seem to indicate that she did not think either.  However subsequently 
> she lived.
> It would seem therefore that a definition of clinical death would have 
> to include a refernce to cell, tissue and organ death, such that when 
> sufficient cell, tissue and organ death has occured, the host organism, 
> human in this case, can not be restored to life.

Is not the proper clinical definition of death (human) the absence of
evocable brainstem electrical activity? Remember, there are anencephalic
babies born with no brain. They cannot live without intervention. However,
it would be incorrect to define them as dead. They do fail the test regarding
brainwave activity.

It would seem that there are two considerations:

1. What are the sufficient conditions to define death, and

2. What are neccessary conditions to define death.

Given these logical complications, it may be true that in ordinary 
practice, reference to the "dead" is so poorly defined that at least
some of the dead can hear and feel for a time. It is behoven of us
that we respect the dead

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