What is brain death?
A severe head injury or brain hemorrhage (bleeding) usually causes brain death. When the person initially receives emergency treatment they are connected to a ventilator to maintain breathing until further assessment can be made of the person’s condition. The determination of brain death is made only after a thorough evaluation in which numerous tests are done. In Virginia, brain death must be determined by two physicians, one of whom must be a neurospecialist. The physicians determining brain death are in no way connected with the transplant team nor can they, by law, perform the organ recovery or transplantation.