The Incontiguous Brick

May 3, 2007

The New Science of Death and the end of “ER”

Filed under: Ramblings — iknowkeith @ 11:00 am

Recently a group of doctors have challenged the way the medical community views death. Astonishingly, they found that our cells do not die when starved of oxygen for a few minutes. They die when the supply of oxygen is resumed. In theory, we could fall over “dead” from a heart attack and have possibly an hour or two before our cells have truly departed. This calls into question everything we once understood about death and even the mind. But what does it mean to you and me?

The technology has not caught up yet. If your heart stops today, you will not become a walking zombie, brought back from the brink after an hour of being “flat-lined.” But it may be here soon. Imagine, you could have both legs crushed in an accident, shot in the heart, bleed out and left for dead. If someone drags you carcass (or at least your head) to a hospital, the doctors would have an hour or two to put you back together and bring you back. You might be half machine, but you are alive.

flatliners_movie_clip.jpgI bet Kevin Bacon and Kiefer Sutherland would be thrilled to “flat-line” for an hour. Screw that 9 minutes limit. Who knows what answers (or nightmares) they could find. But for the rest of us, this is a problem. I am a big fan of TV shows like ER and Grey’s Anatomy. Can you imagine how lame ER would become without the added emergency of heart’s stopping? I want to see them “call it” after 45 minutes of CPR and a couple of hits with the paddles. That is exciting. That is just good TV. I don’t want to watch a show where a guys heart can stop and the staff gets some coffee first and then leisurely bring the guy back when it is convenient to the days schedule. Boring.



  1. you’re sick! Get back to listening to your classes!

    Comment by cimbria Peterson — May 3, 2007 @ 1:04 pm | Reply

  2. This makes me want to see Flatliners again. I mean, it’s only been 17 years. Damn I’m old if I graduated in 1990. I hate you for unwittingly bringing that to my attention.

    Comment by iampoem — May 3, 2007 @ 3:13 pm | Reply

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