Bill defining brain death clears Nevada Senate

CARSON CITY — The Nevada Senate gave unanimous approval Tuesday to a bill defining brain death and protocols on how it should be determined.

Assembly Bill 424 states that consent of family or an authorized representative is not required for doctors to declare someone brain dead.

The bill also prohibits withdrawal of life-sustaining efforts if the patient is pregnant and the fetus could survive with continued treatment. If the person is an organ donor, organ-sustaining treatment could continue until organs are harvested.

Sponsored by Assemblyman Michael Sprinkle, D-Sparks, AB424 stems from the death of Aden Hailu, a 20-yer-old Las Vegas woman who was hospitalized in Reno and suffered severe lack of oxygen and low blood pressure during surgery.

Doctors declared her brain dead but her family went to court to keep her on life support. The case went to the Nevada Supreme Court, which in 2015 ruled unanimously that the standards used by the hospital to determine brain death might not satisfy requirements under state law.

More court proceedings were ordered, but Hailu died in January 2016.

The bill now goes back to the Assembly to consider a minor amendment made by the Senate.

Contact Sandra Chereb at or 775-461-3821. Follow @SandraChereb on Twitter.

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