The Papers of David Evans

It might strike you as strange that within a web site dedicated to defending the view that all death is anatomically located to the brain and promoting organ donation as a positive end of life choice for individuals and their families, that I have included a section dedicated to the papers of David Evans. David Evans, a retired Papworth cardiologist, often writing with his academic colleague, David Hill, a retired anaesthetist, have been two of the most vocal opponents to brain death and organ donation in the UK. Their opposition extends over thirty years.
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I first knew of the two David's through their academic publications when I started my Masters of Bioethics in 2004. In 2012 I was organising with colleagues a one day academic conference in Nottingham entitled:
Dignity in Donation.
We felt that an event such as this should air the full spectrum of views and to support this end we invited the two David's, well known for their sustained views over many decades opposing brain death and organ donation, to present a critical secular view of organ procurement practices (a position, they were quick to inform us, that should not automatically be equated with outright opposition to transplantation). Neither could attend our conference in 2012 (they excused themselves on the basis of old age) but both presented their written views to us and we reproduced these in the Conference Proceedings under the heading Minority Report; an allusion to the film of that title.
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Over the years since the conference David and I have had a sporadic but spritely email correspondence on a number of topics but particularly around the diagnosis of death using neurological criteria (brain death). I don't think either of us ever changed each others ideas, but that I think is beside the point. What was important is we were always academically courteous and we were both, as David put it to me once, searchers of the truth.
What I admired and respected about David was his perseverance, he has been fighting the concept of brain death for decades.

Were neurological criteria for death be abandoned I too would hope to have, like David, the courage of my convictions. To be in twenty or thirty years time, still arguing that all death is anatomically located to the brain, and the permanent loss of consciousness is the only coherent criteria for human death.

Sadly David died on November 22nd, 2014 and we never got to meet in person. In the last weeks of his life David steadily scanned and sent to me what represented a life times work of academic papers; including some of his unpublished papers and his letters and correspondence on the topic of death and donation. His hope was that I would make his papers publicly available. I feel a great sense of privilege that he was willing to entrust these with me. Whether you agree with his views or not (and to a large extent I don't); I none-the-less believe that his work, even for its historical interest, should not be lost. With David's blessing I have created these webpages, collecting his work, as a historical reference to brain death in the UK and as a testament to one man's perseverance in the minority.

DG
December 2014


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