Nicole Bass, who parlayed her unique look and cult celebrity status from The Howard Stern Show into a brief career in wrestling, was reported on Thursday as having passed that day. This is according to a post by a friend on Bass’ Facebook page.
“A few days ago Nicole got very sick,” her girlfriend Kristen Marrone wrote on Thursday night. “She was brought into the hospital and they did everything they could to help her. I have been sitting here with her in the room 24/7 since she got here making sure she was being given the best possible care. Today we learned that there is nothing else that can be done.”
On Friday, however, Ryan Satin of Pro Wrestling Sheet reported that Bass had not actually passed away yet. He spoke with a front desk employee at the hospital Bass is currently located at, who said she’ll be taken off life support on Friday because doctors say she’s considered brain dead.
The report said the message of her death was prematurely posted on Facebook because Marrone “felt as though Nicole was already gone.”
While Satin says she has not actually passed away, brain dead is considered death.
So what does it mean when doctors say a person is brain dead?
WebMD asked critical care specialist Isaac Tawil, MD, an assistant professor at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, and bioethicist Arthur Caplan, PhD, director of the Division of Medical Ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center.
Tawil was asked, “Is brain dead the same as dead?”
“Yes,” Tawil said. “Many people think death happens when the heart stops beating and the lungs stop breathing, but machines can support those functions when the brain no longer can.”
According to Satin, Bass was rushed to a hospital in New York over the weekend after being found unresponsive. Dave Meltzer of F4WOnline.com reports she became unresponsive after suffering a massive stroke.
Doctors informed those at the hospital on Friday that Bass became brain dead after suffering a heart attack. It’s unclear whether she suffered a stroke, and then had a heart attack, or if she only had one devastating neurologic injury. According to Mike Johnson of PWInsider.com, the word of her having a stroke comes from wrestlers who knew Bass.
After doctors determined that there was nothing else they can do to save her, a decision was made at that point to take Bass off life support on Friday night.