Recently I diagnosed a neonate with Zellweger’s Syndrome (classic facies, enormous anterior fontanelle, profound hypotonia and seizures). He survived for two weeks but then aspirated milk (sucked it down his wind pipe) and required intubation (a breathing tube).
After many hours of hand ventilating and no clinical improvement, the parents and I decided that it was time to let him die peacefully. The parents left the room. I removed the tube and sat beside the patient waiting to pronounce death.
He never had a spontaneous breath again but his heart rate remained above 70 for half an hour. And he continued to have a pulse. I expected him to die very quickly and I was astonished by his body’s resilience.
The moment his pulse declined to 50, his heart stopped working.