NPR : Fresh Air

Blurring The Line Between Life And Death

Play associated audio

Dick Teresi wanted to write about how science determines the point between life and death. After a decade of research, Teresi says he still doesn't know what death is, but that the breadth of his ignorance has been widely expanded. Teresi's findings have been published in his new book, The Undead: Organ Harvesting, the Ice-Water Test, Beating Heart Cadavers — How Medicine Is Blurring the Line Between Life and Death.

An excerpt from the book questioning the practices of organ donation and how the medical community determines brain death was published in The Wall Street Journal and has created a lot of controversy in the medical community.

On Monday's Fresh Air, Teresi talks about his findings. In addition, Richard M. Freeman, the chief of surgery and a veteran transplant surgeon at Dartmouth Medical School, discusses the ethics of transplant surgery and what physicians think about the point between life and death.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit


Making Art Off The Grid: A Month-Long Residency At A Remote National Park

Filmmakers Carter McCormick and Paula Sprenger recently wrapped up a month as artists-in-residence at Dry Tortugas National Park, 70 miles west of Key West. No phone, TV, Internet or other people.

After A Long Day Of Fighting Climate Change, This Grain Is Ready For A Beer

Kernza is a kind of grassy wheat that traps more carbon in the soil than crops like wheat and rice. Now, a West Coast brewery is using the grain in its new beer called Long Root Ale.

WikiLeaks Reveals Clinton Aides Knew They Had An Email Problem On Their Hands

In one email, a Clinton aide says "we need to clean this up — [Obama] has emails from her — they do not say"

Google Fiber Won't Accept Any New Cities For Its Superfast Internet Network

Google says it will honor its existing commitments to support or deploy gigabit-speed Internet. But it's scaling back the work on fiber optics to focus on "new technology and deployment methods."

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.