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Why Hospitals And Families Still Struggle To Define Death Published: January 10, 2014

Death seems one of life's few certainties, but the cases of a girl and a young woman who are being kept on life support even though they are legally dead show how difficult it still can be to agree on the end of life, according to NPR.

In Oakland, Calif., the family of 13-year-old Jahi McMath waged a legal battle to override at least three neurologists who said that the child died when her brain lost all function after complications from a tonsillectomy. Though a coroner has issued an official death certificate for her, Jahi's family won the right to keep their child on a ventilator.

The husband and parents of 33-year-old Marlise Munoz in Fort Worth, Texas, were ready to accept their loss when doctors declared her brain dead after a suspected brain embolism. But Munoz was 14 weeks pregnant when she was afflicted. Because of that, the hospital has refused to remove her from a ventilator, despite her loved ones' wishes, NPR reports.

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