This chapter considers the complications of declaring someone dead, in historical and cross-cultural contexts as well as in the wake of the biomedical technologies that were applied to Susan Torres. Edgar Allan Poe explored one's fear of being buried alive in his short story 'The Premature Burial', and the Belgian painter Antoine Wiertz gave it a visual expression in the painting 'The Hasty Burial', in which a coffin lid is pushed aside by a still-breathing dead man. Medical ethicists still argue about the scientific, philosophical, and moral underpinnings of the brain death concept, and physicians raise troubling questions about the empirical claims on which the distinction between whole and partial brain death is based. The debate is important not just because it speaks to the conflicting views in the Marlise Muoz and Jahi McMath cases but also because the presumed equivalence between brain death and biological death.