1. Ethically, is brain death not as final as cardiac death? Why or why not? Brain death is final. There is no coming back from it, ever. Neurons die, and the brain ceases to function. Permanently. With cardiac death, we can sometimes use medication or electricity to resume heart function. A systole (no electrical activity in the heart) can sometimes be reversed if the underlying cause of the problem can be treated (such as severe electrolyte abnormalities, or severe hypothermia).
2. How does the Prudent Person Rule apply in this case? The prudent rule or “reasonable man” law dictates that a person act in a manner that is consistent with the skills, logic, resources, and knowledge that an average lay-person may have. In medicine, it would apply to a patient in that they are required to take all steps that are reasonable and prudent to affect a positive outcome in their treatment. In other words, you would be expected to follow doctor’s orders, do all routine follow up and home therapy, use reasonable judgments and so on. So the answer here is, yes – this does apply to the case because this young girl came into the hospital for a simple surgery removing her tonsils, adenoids, and extra sinus tissues. And was shortly determined brain dead after beginning to bleed profusely, and went through cardiac arrest, meaning the serious dysfunction of an organ.
3. In your opinion, could this tragedy have been prevented? If so, how? In this case I really don’t know the specifics of this particular case, because there are so many missing pieces between the pre-op and post-op that I’m unsure of how this actually happened to determine if this tragedy could have been prevented. In some cases the parents have to be completely informed as to the ramifications of a situation before making a final decision.