Hospitals policies vary widely in how they determine brain death, and many fail to implement 2010 guidelines from the American Academy of Neurology designed to combat errors,
according to a study last week in JAMA. Many policies don’t require doctors to check that patients’ blood pressure and temperature are adequate for assessing brain function, and some policies skip recommended tests. Many policies don’t require that a neurologist, neurosurgeon or even a trained doctor make the call, and some hospitals allow nurse practitioners or physician assistants to do so. The report urged stronger compliance and uniformity across the country.