Somatic death is the complete and irreversible stoppage of the circulation, respiration and brain functions (Bishop’s tripod of life), but there is no legal definition of death. The question of death is important in resuscitation and organ transplantation.
As long as circulation of oxygenated blood is maintained to the brain stem, life exists. Whether the person is alive or dead can only be tested by withdrawal of artificial maintenance.
A person who cannot survive upon withdrawal of artificial maintenance is dead. The success of a homo graft mainly depends upon the type of tissue involved, and the rapidity of its removal after circulation has stopped in the donor. Cornea can be removed from the dead body within 6 hours, skin in 24 hours, bone in 48 hours and blood vessels within 72 hours for transplantation.
Kidneys, heart, lungs, pancreas and liver must be obtained soon after somatic death that is soon after circulation has stopped as they deteriorate rapidly. The body does not reject a transplanted cornea. Cornea donors range in age from newborn to 70 years or older. Most bone transplants last the life of the individual.