The teenager hit by the police in Elancourt in a state of “brain death”: what does that mean?

The teenager hit by the police in Elancourt in a state of “brain death”: what does that mean?

Aged 16, young Sefa was hit by a police car while riding a motocross bike on the evening of September 6 in Elancourt, in Yvelines. Since then, his state of health has caused confusion: first declared dead, he was then declared “brain dead”. What does that mean ? Explanations from Dr Gérald Kierzek, emergency doctor and medical director of TipsForWomens.

Last Wednesday, September 6, young Sefa rode a motocross bike in the town of Elancourt, in Yvelines. Following a refusal to comply, the young person was hit by a police car. Taken into care by emergency services, he was initially declared dead, before statements about his state of health changed, announcing the young man was brain dead.

What is brain death?

Also called brain death, brain death corresponds “to a state of clinical death, which is also called an outdated coma” first defines Gérald Kierzek, emergency doctor and medical director of TipsForWomens. “A patient in this state has a brain that no longer functions, but his other organs, such as the heart, still work. This is possible thanks to intubation and the artificial respirator which artificially prolongs the patient’s life thanks to oxygenation. adds the doctor.

What tests can detect brain death?

Faced with an intubated patient whose heart is beating but the brain is no longer responding, doctors must make the diagnosis of brain death. “For this, two main tests can allow a doctor to make this diagnosis: cerebral CT angiography or electroencephalogram.” said Dr. Kierzek. “One or other of the examinations will be carried out, in a medico-legal framework: the first makes it possible to visualize the blood circulation in the patient’s brain; the second, its electrical activity. When we note the absence of one or the other – in the context of the EEG we will speak of a “flat” electroencephalogram – the diagnosis of brain death can officially be made.. Apart from these two examinations, a transcranial Doppler, to detect blood circulation through the wall of the skull, can be carried out in certain cases.

What happens after brain death is officially announced to the family?

Once the diagnosis has been made, doctors take the time to inform the patient’s family and make them understand the consequences of this announcement. “It is sometimes difficult to understand, because for her, their loved one is still alive, their heart is beating, they are breathing. We must make them understand that this situation is only possible thanks to the respirator.” underlines the doctor. Once the shock of the announcement has passed, doctors also talk about organ donation with loved ones.

Donating your organs, a gesture of solidarity

A way to know if the person was opposed to it or not, although consent to organ donation is today considered presumed, since the Cavaillet law of 1976. “Any person is considered to have consented to the donation of organs and tissues after their death as long as they have not made known during their lifetime their refusal of such a donation. can we read on the website of the Biomedicine Agency.

There is a form to download from the site and send to the Agency if you object to any organ removal from your body after your death. And in the event of a simple oral expression of refusal by the deceased, the medical team will ask the relatives to specify the circumstances and to sign the transcription which will be made in writing, but no samples will be taken against the wishes of the relatives of the deceased. the victim.