Machines reviving humans
How does a machine bring you back to life?
Thanks for your question. There is a lot of argument as to what
exactly defines life, and there are also some disagreements as
to what defines death. It appears death can be defined as lack
of brain activity. No machine is able to bring you back to life after
brain activity has ceased. The machines you may be referring
to include machines to electrically stimulate the heart into again
having a normal sequence of electrical impulses necessary for
sustained normal function. Heart/lung machines serve as temporary
substitutes for those organs during operations or preceding
transplants. These maintain the normal mechanical functions of
those organs; for example, pumping blood or bringing air into the
As I mentioned above, these machines act as 'life-support' systems.
They cannot create life or return life to a dead individual with
the lack of brain activity. If a heart stops, there is a period
where the heart can be stimulated into beating again. If this is
not accomplished within a very few minutes, brain death begins
to occur and then what we call 'death' quickly follows.
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Update: June 2012