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BOOK REVIEW: The Undead: Organ Harvesting, the Ice-Water Test, Beating Heart Cadavers--How Medicine Is Blurring the Line Between Life and Death by Dick Teresi

Review by Allison Bohac

By
1:24pm, April 6, 2012

“Are you dead or alive?”

The Undead opens with a question that seems like it should have an easy answer. But Teresi, a science writer, argues that in today’s age of beating-heart cadavers that can breathe, urinate and even give birth while legally dead, it can be hard to tell.

Historically, Egyptians and ancient Greeks considered a heartbeat to be the telltale indicator; Christian and Hebrew interpretations of the Bible pointed to breath. The Samburu people in Africa still contend that someone is not dead until hyenas will eat the body.

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