Death is the end of life. Traditionally, death was pronounced when a person's respiratory and cardiac function ceased. But modern medicine makes it possible for a person to be kept “alive” on machines. Consequently, in 1980, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws created the Uniform Determination of Death Act (ADDA) to serve as a basis for determining death. The Act has been accepted by most states and has been adopted by the American Medical Association and the American Bar Association. The Act states that: “An individual who has sustained either (1) irreversible cessation of circulatory and respiratory functions, or (2) irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem is dead.”

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