Er... sounds like you get the picture :-) Yes, the commodity must be fresh. Most big hospitals nowadays have a surgical team on call 24/7 in case they get a brain-dead patient or a very, very fresh cadaver. Organ transplants do save lives and we can't argue much with this. Trouble is, the demand for the organs is so great and their value so high, there is a constant temptation to cut corners and ignore moral niceties. Patients' conditions (like Haleigh's) may be portrayed as worse than they are, in order to harvest organs. Iow, chop them up fast and never mind if the patient was really "dead." Keep in mind that there is still controversy in the medical profession whether "brain dead" is even dead.
For the record, the original conditions for "brain death" were pretty strict. The brain stem had to be gone (too), so the patient would die without a ventilator. Patients who can breathe without life support are NOT brain dead -- for a surprising example, Karen Ann Quinlan. Terri Schiavo wasn't brain dead, of course, though she was called that all the time in the media. Terri wasn't on any kind of life support as people understand the term.
The once-strict "brain death" conditions have tended to get loosened over the years, in the face of demand for organs for transplant.
Strict brain death seems like the best definition of dead to me. If there is no mind (ah but what does that mean?)and the brain can't maintain breathing or BP, you're gone. But I ask this, do you know if measurable electical activity ever drops to absolute zero? In other words, is there ever an objective measurement of death? Of is it, as uncomfortable as it may be to admit, almost always a QUALITATIVE judgement? Is it, rather than a neat boolean on/off, dead/alive, yes/no, instead a continuum of functionality? Where we easily recognize the fat spot right in the middle, but have problems with the edges or boundaries?