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Thread: Jahi McMath

  1. #1
    NEPA Talkback Addict NEPA Talkback Sponser KKate's Avatar
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    Jahi McMath

    (CNN) -- They thought the tonsil surgery would help her. She feared she'd never wake up.

    Now, a 13-year-old girl once known for smiling, giggling and dropping off her sister every day at kindergarten lies motionless in a California hospital bed, hooked up to machines that doctors say are the only thing keeping her heart beating.

    There have been days of prayers and protests for Jahi McMath. There was a fierce court battle as a devastated family fought to keep her on life support and doctors argued she had already died. The case drew national attention and fueled debate.

    Doctors and a judge have declared her brain dead and said there's no chance Jahi will come back to life.

    A deadline loomed Monday as a judge had said the hospital could disconnect the machines after 5 p.m. (8 p.m. ET). But shortly before Jahi could have been cut off, that same judge extended his order to 5 p.m. (8 p.m. ET) on January 7.


    "This child was sitting on death row," said family attorney Christopher Dolan. "This was a facility that was hell bent on ending this child's life today, and a court stepped in."

    Children's Hospital Oakland spokesman Sam Singer said the hospital would comply with the order.
    Earlier, the girl's family told reporters it had located a facility in New York willing to take Jahi. The Oakland hospital, however, "refused to agree to allow us to proceed in that matter," according to the girl's uncle, Omari Sealey.

    Attorneys for the family are filing a new complaint in federal court requesting a temporary restraining order and an injunction to prevent the hospital from disconnecting Jahi from life support, he said. They also are filing an appeal with California appellate courts.
    Asked about the New York facility, Singer said that the hospital has had no "substantive" conversations with any such place.

    It's unclear what will happen next.
    But one thing is certain, the spokesman said.
    "There are no winners in this very tragic case," Singer told reporters.

    Bleeding, cardiac arrest and brain death
    Family members say the 8th grader was alert and talking after doctors removed her tonsils, adenoids and extra sinus tissue in a surgery earlier this month.
    Doctors had recommended the surgery to treat pediatric obstructive sleep apnea, a condition which made her stop breathing in her sleep and caused other medical problems.
    Before the surgery, Jahi said she was worried that she would never wake up, according to her uncle. She seemed fine after the surgery, but asked for a Popsicle because her throat hurt.
    It wasn't long before something went terribly wrong.
    In the intensive care unit, the girl began bleeding profusely -- an image her mother told CNN would be forever seared in her mind.

    According to family members, Jahi went into cardiac arrest. Days later, she was declared brain dead.
    Hospital officials have said privacy laws prevent them from discussing details of the case.
    In court documents and public comments, they've maintained that there's no doubt that McMath is brain dead, describing the condition as irreversible. An independent doctor and a judge supported that conclusion last week.

    "No amount of prayer, no amount of hope, no amount of any type of medical procedure will bring her back," Singer said Monday. "The medical situation here in this case is that Jahi McMath died several weeks ago."

    Family raises money, searches for answers
    But Jahi's family members maintain that they're hoping for a miracle and want to transfer the girl from Children's Hospital Oakland to another facility.
    The girl's uncle told reporters Monday that Jahi moves when her mother speaks and touches her. Sealey also said that a pediatrician has seen Jahi and has sworn she is not dead.
    When asked about the girl's possible movement, the hospital spokesman, citing privacy laws, said he would not comment directly on any claims the family makes.

    However, Singer said it is "quite common" for the muscles of brain-dead patients to move, stressing it's "not a sign of life."
    Media reports suggest one earlier treatment location option fell through. The attorney representing Jahi's family did not respond to requests from CNN for comment on the matter.

    So far the family has raised $27,000 on GoFundMe.com to move her. According to the site, more than 800 people have donated money in three days.
    When 'life support' is really 'death support'
    Court document reveals details

    Medical ethicists, meanwhile, say the high-profile case fuels a misperception: that "brain death" is somehow not as final as cardiac death, even though, by definition, it is. The case is "giving the impression that dead people can come back to life," Arthur Caplan, director of the Division of Medical Ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center, told CNN last week
    CNN has obtained a copy of a medical report, contained in a court filing, that lays out in extensive detail the testing that supports the hospital's conclusion that McMath has no hope of recovery.
    The report was prepared by Dr. Paul Fisher, Chief of Pediatric Neurology at Stanford University, who was appointed by Alameda Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo to examine the girl and report his findings to the court.

    Fisher found that the girl's pupils were fully dilated and unresponsive to light and that she did not respond to a variety of intense stimuli.
    His report also says McMath showed no sign of breathing on her own when a ventilator was removed: "Patient failed apnea test." While the family has referred to Jahi's heart beating, the report says it is only beating because of the mechanical ventilator.
    In addition, an imaging test showed no blood flow to Jahi's brain, while another showed no sign of electrical activity.
    Fisher's conclusion: "Overall, unfortunate circumstances in 13-year-old with known, irreversible brain injury and now complete absence of cerebral function and complete absence of brainstem function, child meets all criteria for brain death, by professional societies and state of California."
    Family criticizes hospital
    Jahi's family has criticized the hospital's handling of the matter, accusing doctors of pressuring them to disconnect life support.

    "We wish to acknowledge that Jahi's case, and our stance regarding her right to life, and her mother's right to make decisions regarding her child, has stirred a vibrant, sometimes polarizing, national debate. This was never our intention," the family's statement said. "We have our strong religious convictions and set of beliefs and we believe that, in this country, a parent has the right to make decisions concerning the existence of their child: not a doctor who looks only at lines on a paper, or reads the cold black and white words on a law that says 'brain dead' and definitely not a doctor who runs the facility that caused the brain death in the first place."
    Singer, the hospital spokesman, described the situation Monday as tragic "by every measure of the word."

    "There has been some limited conversation between the hospital's attorney and the family's attorney, but that's a privileged communication and I have no update on behalf of the hospital at this moment," he said, "other than to say our hearts, our sympathy, go out to this family and the young woman's body on the respirator at this hospital."
    ~ There is more faith in honest doubt, than in all the creeds in the world ~

  2. #2
    NEPA Talkback Addict NEPA Talkback Sponser Rosemary's Avatar
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    What's the hurry? If she can't come back, she won't. Who does it harm to let her on life support for a month or two? It can bring closure and peace of mind to the family.

    There are documented cases of "brain-dead" people recovering. Yes, it is rare, but it DOES happen. Check out some of the cases in the internet.

    If the family has her on support for a few months and there's no improvement, they will know without a doubt she is gone. They will also have peace of mind knowing they did all they could. No lingering doubts.

    The family has made their wishes known. They should be honored.

  3. #3
    NEPA Talkback Addict Peanut's Avatar
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    I find this sad. Let her spirit go to the next realm. We should not waste millions to soothe feelings of parents who can't let go. And we wonder why our health care costs are so expensive. Things like this.....and giving 99 year olds MRIs and other such things for no good reason. Other than to cater to some people's fear of death.

    Sorry Rosemary. Feel strongly about this. Terry Schivo case scared tbe crap out of me. And made me angry.
    "Man is kind enough when he is not excited by religion."
    ~~ Mark Twain ~~

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    Some people have a hard time with reality. The child is dead and she isn't coming back. How much money will it cost to keep this dead child on a respirator with a feeding tube down her throat? How much will it cost for a dog and pony show just to appease the in-denial family?

  5. #5
    NEPA Talkback Addict NEPA Talkback Sponser Rosemary's Avatar
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    It is rare for someone to come back but it DOES happen. Google brain dead people who survived for some examples. It happens more than you think.

    In some cases, the "brain-dead" readings are actually from drugs they use to induce coma. Cases are documented that when they stoped medication, the patient came back eveb though declared completely brain-dead.

    Here's the thing: by keeping her alive a couple of months will show if there's any possibility. The family will know and accept then. It's NOT a feel-good effort for their sake. Read some of the stories and maybe you'll understand why this family feels as they do.

    As far as cost: the nurses and doctors are already on staff. So no extra money there. The nutrition and hydration are minimal cost (or should be). We're not talking further testing (which is expensive) or the other measures that REALLY cost. So, the rent for the bed. They charge WAY too much for that.

    Here's a major question: does her heart beat without help? If so, she is not yet completely dead, although revival is unlikely.

    The family is asking for a bed for their daughter and food and water for a time. That is NOT too much to ask.

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    Being brain dead is not irreversible though and there are enough tests given to prove whether or not the individual is indeed brain-dead. The heart can continue "functioning" at a very minimal level but he/she will not have respiratory function. In other words, She's dead, Jim.

    Keeping this girl alive by artificial means costs a great deal of money whether speaking of the staff, equipment, etc.., Do you have any idea how long the fight endured to pull the plug on Schivo? Do you really believe in two months this family will pull the plug when the inevitable occurs?

  7. #7
    NEPA Talkback Addict NEPA Talkback Sponser Rosemary's Avatar
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    Read the stories about the "brain dead" survivors. It DOES happen, though very rarely.

    And yes, the family will eventually accept if she is dead. Likely she is. BUT, they will have a LIFETIME of wondering "what if?" That could torture them.
    Giving her body normal healing time will erase their doubts.

    What is the hurry? If it matters to the survivors, what does it matter if she is there a month or so?

    Do you REALLY think there's no waste in medical facilities? Far more than the use of a bed and food and water.

  8. #8
    NEPA Talkback Addict NEPA Talkback Sponser KKate's Avatar
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    We are not doctors or nurses, but we could keep every human alive this way. Seriously think about that.

    My daughter had a patient who had a pacemaker that died. Her heart was still beating (because of the pacemaker) and they couldn't shut it off (as is protocol). They were calling doctors and googling how to shut off a pacemaker when the normal way didnt work.

    Anyway, the family thought she was still "alive". But she was dead. Very dead. No brain activity and was pronounced dead. It's over.

    The hospital can not insert a feeding tube in a dead person, which is what her family wants. But the family says they are starving her. The sad thing is this family will sue and become millionaires. ....and our rates will go up.
    ~ There is more faith in honest doubt, than in all the creeds in the world ~

  9. #9
    NEPA Talkback Addict NEPA Talkback Sponser KKate's Avatar
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    The family had a top notch pediatric neurologist UNAFFILIATED with Children's reach the same conclusion that she is dead.

    The hospital has an ethical and moral obligation to do what's CORRECT and not cave into the whims of whatever unreasonable demands a family makes.

    It's becoming an epidemic of the wrong people making decisions. It is the mentality today to "fight the system", in this case the people who dare say she is dead.

    I read an interesting response from a nurse discussing this case:

    "yep karen. it never failed to make me crazy when we'd get one of these families in. You do your damnedest to be compassionate and support them to the best of your abilities given the fact that there are still OTHER patients who have not gone away so these families can disrupt everything and every one. Used to happen in the ER on rare occasion. Most families grieve and we give them time till other family or friends arrive to help them. That can sometimes take hours. But other times you'll get a family who wants to tie up a trauma room for HOURS and HOURS. and light candles and play music and have prayer vigils etc. We once had a body in a trauma bay for almost 12 hours! Long enough for family to FLY IN from another state! I finally called the funeral home and said if they did't come IMMEDIATELY we would file a complaint ugh. Sensitive is one thing. Compassion is one thing. But to think, no matter what's happening around you, your tragedy is the ONLY tragedy is what's wrong with too many people.

    Thankfully, that was rare. Most people are very cognizant of their surroundings and despite their grief and pain manage to comport themselves like mature adults, even when they're only kids. Too bad there weren't more of them"


    Talk to a nurse. Often the part of the job they hate the most is dealing with the families and their "rights".....to stay, to disrupt, to interrupt nurses....the stories are endless.
    ~ There is more faith in honest doubt, than in all the creeds in the world ~

  10. #10
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    People have "recovered" from being in a persistent vegetative state. According to what I have read not having brain activity means you have brain death or in other words, you are brain dead. If you have brain activity you are in a coma or pvs.

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