In a deceased human body, the exact organ or tissue that “dies” last can vary depending on the circumstances of death and the specific definition of “death” being used. When the term “clinical death” is used, it typically refers to the cessation of vital functions such as the heartbeat and breathing. However, even after clinical death occurs, cells and tissues in the body can remain viable for varying periods, depending on factors like temperature and oxygen levels.
Here are a few examples of what may “live” or remain viable for some time after clinical death:
- Brain: In some cases, brain cells may remain active for a brief period, even after the heart and breathing have stopped. This is why there’s an emphasis on performing CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) to restore blood flow to the brain and other vital organs in the event of cardiac arrest.
- Skin Cells: Skin cells may remain viable for a short time after death.
- Bone Marrow: Some reports suggest that bone marrow cells can remain active for a period following clinical death, potentially providing opportunities for organ and tissue donation.
The exact duration of cell viability after clinical death varies and depends on factors like the individual’s health, environmental conditions, and how rapidly the body is cooled. It’s important to note that these post-mortem activities are limited, and there is no return to life once clinical death has occurred. The point at which death is declared is determined by specific medical and legal criteria, and it varies by jurisdiction.