Wikipedia Brain Death

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Traditionally, both the legal and medical communities determined death through the permanent end of certain bodily functions in clinical death , especially respiration and heartbeat . With the increasing ability of the medical community to resuscitate people with no respiration, heartbeat, or other external signs of life, the need for another definition of death occurred, raising questions of legal death . This gained greater urgency with the widespread use of life support equipment, as well as rising capabilities and demand for organ transplantation .