Medical advances such as improved life support and better interventions in emergency medicine have saved countless lives. However, that same technology can at times prevent death while doing little or nothing to restore the fullness of a patient's life, which has in turn fueled the debate over the morality of euthanasia or "hastening" death. But an accurate discussion of death and dying requires a discussion of what it means to be alive - what is it that makes us human and when do we cease to be human? In other words, when does life end and death begin? In the past, this was a simple question to answer, but the increasing sophistication of medical treatment has blurred the distinction to the point where perhaps death should be redefined in terms of person hood rather than biological criteria.
Boyce, Sheri, "The Persistent Vegetative State: An Impetus for Redefining Death" (2011). Faculty Scholarship Papers. 2.