Does it matter if we call irreversibly comatose patients “dead?” Our guest is Doyen Nguyen, OP, MD, STD. Dr. Nguyen was previously an academic hemato-pathologist and is currently a Catholic moral theologian and bioethicist. She has authored books and articles both in medicine and in moral theology/bioethics and authored a 600-page monograph that takes a critical look at brain death from a variety of perspectives.


  • Nguyen D. The New Definition of Death for Organ Donation: A Multidisciplinary Analysis from the Perspective of Christian Ethics. (2018, Amazon link)

  • Nair-Collins, M and Miller, FG. “Do the ‘Brain Dead’ merely appear to be alive? (in J of Med Ethics, open access)

  • Related Episode: Ep. 35. Why Brain Death Isn’t Death: An Introduction to “Shewmon’s Challenge” (with Guest Alan Shewmon, MD)

  • Related Episode: Ep. 45. Brain Death at the Bedside (with guest Fred Rincon, MD)

  • Related Episode: Ep. 146. Diagnosing Brain Death: Clinical and Legal Quagmire (with guests Alan Shewmon and Doyen Nguyen)

  • Watch the episode on YouTube

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Brain Death: Challenges and Responses