A photo of Jahi McMath that the family’s attorney says was taken Oct. 2, 2014. (Courtesy of Christopher Dolan)
Today Wesly Smith posted on his blog that a physician from California who is licensed to exam Jahi has declared she is NOT “brain dead”.
He quoted from the Medical Futility Blog written by Thaddeus Mason Pope.
I’ve been following these blogs for four years as well as reading scientific studies by the people quoted below.I know how they feel about the subject but it is not the point of this post to go into their views of brain death and medical ethics.
Here are the credentials of the physician who examined Jahi.
Since the Certificate of Death was issued, Jahi has been examined by a physician duly licensed to practice in the State of California who is an experienced pediatric neurologist with triple Board Certifications in Pediatrics, Neurology (with special competence in Child Neurology), and Electroencephalography.
The physician has a sub-specialty in BRAIN DEATH and has published and lectured extensively on the topic, both nationally and internationally. This physician has personally examined Jahi and has reviewed a number of her medical records and studies performed, including an MRI/MRA done at Rutgers University Medical Center on September 26, 2014. This doctor has also examined 22 videotapes of Jahi responding to specific requests to respond and move.
The MRI scan of September 26, 2014, is not consistent with chronic brain death MRI scans. Instead, Jahi’s MRI demonstrates vast areas of structurally and relatively preserved brain, particularly in the cerebral cortex, basal ganglia and cerebellum.
Read the entire article here as I’m not going to to into the whole thing but I will comment on the first two commenters. A physician, Dr. Troug and Robert Veach, PhD that I have referenced several times in my blogs.
Dr. Robert Troug, who has always said brain death is not true death, but still advocated for organ donation ONLY telling the truth to patients families. He believed that if the families knew the truth they would agree to still donate. Dr. Troug is the one responsible for calling brain death a legal fiction.
Regardless of one’s views about brain death, if these developments are correct then this is a bombshell. Given the intensive scrutiny that this case received, I have to believe that she fulfilled all of the standard criteria for the diagnosis of brain death when she was initially diagnosed. In spite of all of the cases reported over the years in the media about patients who “recovered” from brain death, I think we have always been able to say that there has NEVER been a patient correctly diagnosed as being brain dead who has developed neurologically functioning inconsistent with that diagnosis, and I think we have all found that reassuring. But this changes all that. Furthermore, unless her parents had pushed (to an unreasonable extent, in the minds of many) for continuation of life support, we would never have known that this potential existed. Hence, it is not sufficient to say that this is a “one off” case that we can ignore, because we do not know how often this might occur if such support was more often provided. Bob Truog, Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
Dr. Veatch is Professor Emeritus of Medical Ethics at Georgetown and Senior Research Scholar at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, had this to say concerning Jahi, “If all of this is true, Jahi is clearly alive. Moreover, since death requires irreversible loss of brain functions, she never has been dead. Now, how do we know that all of this is true? It would be helpful to know who the licensed practitioner is. Is it Alan Shewmon? It appears that the family attorney is not trying to argue that she would be alive even if all functions of the entire brain were irreversibly lost as long as the circulatory system continued to function. Some of us think that is a defensible position (even if we do not personally hold it for our own deaths.”
“The claims amount two observations: that she is responsive to verbal commands and that she has hormonal and other activity in the hypothalamus or pituitary. The responsiveness claim is, in some ways, more interesting because it leads to a direct rejection of the standard tests for death based on brain criteria and, in fact, is a claim that she not only has brain function, but it at least minimally conscious. Clearly, the full set of tests for death based on brain function need to be repeated in a credible way.”
I know a lot of you follow this blog and aren’t going to be AS excited about this as I am, neither do your realize the implications of what this could mean. Already some of those in the organ donation industry are questioning IF the video was edited, (sounds like Planned Parenthood, right?) Or the fact that she COULD have already had her period.
Let me tell you plain and simple corpse’s don’t move, menstruate, deliver babies or have ANY blood flow.
Oh, I expect the rebuttal of this from many who benefit from your organs being harvested. This is just the beginning. But the fact is Jahi is alive and the hospital and those who examined her and all the thousands of people who are declared “brain dead” every year are wrong.
Up until 1968, when the committee of 14 men came up with the term “brain death” for someone in a deep coma we had ONE definition of death.
An individual who has sustained irreversible cessation of circulatory and respiratory functions.
Your organs need oxygen to be kept alive or vital.
That is why someone pronounced dead on the side of road, does not have vital organs. You must have oxygen to keep those organs alive to be transplanted into a person.
Now the Uniform Definition of Death Act NOW says this, An individual who has sustained either (1) irreversible cessation of circulatory and respiratory functions, or (2) irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem, is dead. A determination of death must be made in accordance with accepted medical standards.
I am sick and tired of young people going to get their drivers license and NOT being told what they are signing up for. A quick conversation with the lady at the counter and you have signed a legally binding document. It may sound altruistic at the time but let me tell you when you are in a hospital and your loved one is seriously injured you see it differently.
It is not so easy when you are in the hospital and talking to medical doctors about your loved one being cut open from the sternum down WITH YOUR HEART STILL BEATING and you KNOW they had no clue what they were signing up for.
I was with Dr. Byrne at a conference on Brain Death in Livonia this past year. He has seen Jahi several times and told me again, “Jahi, is not dead.”
Dr. Byrne was is a neonatologist and a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics. He is past President of the Catholic Medical Association. He is the producer of the film Continuum of Life and the author of Life, Life Support and Death, Beyond Brain Death, and Brain Death is Not Death.
“When organs are removed from a “brain dead” donor, all the vital signs of the “donors” are still present prior to the harvesting of organs, such as: normal body temperature and blood pressure; the heart is beating; vital organs, like the liver and kidneys, are functioning; and the donor is breathing with the help of a ventilator.”
You might want to read some other success stories that I have blogged about over the years. I have a good one coming up that happened right here in the U.S.
In the opinion of the pediatric neurologist who has examined Jahi, having spent hours with her and reviewed numerous videotapes of her, that time has proven that Jahi has not followed the trajectory of imminent total body deterioration and collapsed that was predicted back in December of 2013, based on the diagnosis of brain death.
Her brain is alive in the neuropathological sense and it is not necrotic. At this time, Jahi does not fulfill California’s statutory definition of death, which requires the irreversible absence of all brain function, because she exhibits hypothalamic function and intermittent responsiveness to verbal commands.
Please email me if you want me to send you the card to Protect and Preserve Your Life IF you are ever incapacitated and can’t speak on your own behalf Include your mailing address and I will put it in the mail asap for you. I will also include a pamphlet The Truth About Organ Donation. Carry it with you and tell your family your wishes.
Remember they want Jahi to die, and have for two years because IF she continues to improve the whole concept of “brain death” will fall apart.
***highlights mine for emphasis***