Historical UK Codes of Practice for the Diagnosis of Death
Death entails the irreversible loss of those essential characteristics which are necessary to the existence of a living human person. Thus, it is recommended that the definition of death should be regarded as ‘irreversible loss of the capacity for consciousness, combined with irreversible loss of the capacity to breathe’. The irreversible cessation of brain stem function (brain stem death) whether induced by intra-cranial events or the result of extra-cranial phenomena, such as hypoxia, will produce this clinical state and therefore brain stem death equates with the death of the individual.
UK Code of Practice, 1998