Achieving the desired mutual goals of peaceful and reliable (preferably within as short a time possible) is a more complex challenge.
To help in the decision-making, Exit established the ‘Reliability- Peacefulness Test’ (RPA Test). This Test (discussed in an earlier Chapter) provides a means of rating the methods discussed in this Handbook according to a number of key criteria. The ‘A’ in the current, revised RPA table represents ‘Availability’. This criteria was added after it became clear that while Peacefulness and Reliability remain key determining factors, if a method were not also Available then it would be a little use.
In this Chapter we take a look at the physiology of death and what makes for a peaceful and reliable one.
Essential Life Systems
The maintenance of human life requires a functioning brain. This is because it is the brain that maintains control of the essential support systems of the body. In order to do their job, the cells in the human brain require an uninterrupted supply of their essential metabolic needs: oxygen and glucose. Any significant disturbance of their supply to the brain will quickly lead to death.
Of the total oxygen needed by the human body, over 20% of this is needed by the human brain. This is despite the fact that the brain accounts for only 2% of a person’s total body weight. Furthermore, the brain requires some 60% of the body’s resting energy needs. Of all the blood that is pumped by the heart, some 20% is needed to maintain this essential supply to the brain.