While there exists a legal provision for brain death, institutional protocols for diagnosis are not universal and are often absent; no specific criteria for diagnosis is mandated. Even among institutions with an organized diagnostic protocol, there is substantial variation both in the criteria used and who may perform the determination.
The Brain Death Determination Course, presented by the Neurocritical Care Society, aims to standardize the process of brain death diagnosis. This credentialing tool will help those clinicians who are allowed by their local laws to perform brain death determination to learn and demonstrate their level of understanding and expertise by:
Highlighting the necessary steps that must be taken to determine brain death
Reviewing various exam methods and discussing proper documentation
Outlining appropriate communication with fellow providers and patient families
Describing common pitfalls and barriers that may arise during the exam process