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The definitions of death and life may be a philosophical, ethical, cultural, and legal issue. Traditionally, a physical examination of the patient confirming the absence of clinical signs (pulses, respiration, movements, pupillary size and reactions to light) is sufficient prior to a declaration of death. Three major considerations lead to a more elaborate set of criteria for the clinical definition of death: Complete absence of clinical signs on a patient can be maintained with modern anesthetic techniques. Some patients found with no pulse or respiration due to exposure to hypothermia can be later resuscitated. A patient without integrated brain function may be mechanically ventilated, have a strong pulse and good circulation, as is often found in patients of trauma, or patients with intracerebral hemorrhage, despite the fact that there is no expectation of the patient ever regaining brain function. The concept of brain death is now accepted by many jurisdictions as the legal definition of death.

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