Think you know when someone is dead? Think again

Welcome to the spectral world of beating heart cadvaers

Their bodies are warm and their hearts still beat. They digest food; they defecate and urinate. Their wounds will heal, and new infections will provoke a fever. If they’re pregnant, they’ll eventually give birth. And if they’re children, they’ll continue to grow and sexually mature. All their organs — except the brain — function normally.

Welcome to the spectral world of ‘beating-heart cadavers’. These are not people in a persistent vegetative state, who have some residual brain function. They are people who, after catastrophic brain injury, no longer have any brain activity at all,