On reflection, I guess I never use the word dead on the rare occasions the issue arises with my patients and their families--I provide chronic, not critical care--because there's something unbearably onomatopoeic about it to my ear. I say has died or dying. I don't feel that to do otherwise is wrong or harsh; the nature of my discussions is generally far less immediate than those taking place in a PICU and so I guess they have evolved to be somewhat more cuddly and mauve tinted.

another reason is I work at one of the epicenters of the euphemism treadmill (see Vince's A ban we can all get behind thread) and our language is scrutinized but good, often to no purpose.