Death and Brain Death

Also see: Organ Donation and Organ Transplantation

Articles

“Jahi McMath, girl declared brain dead three years ago, might still be technically alive, judge says”
(Los Angeles Times — September 7, 2017)
Alameda County Judge Stephen Pulido ruled Tuesday that it’s up to a jury to determine whether Jahi McMath is alive…[In 2013], after a judge ruled that California doctors could remove the girl from life support, her mother took Jahi to New Jersey, the only U.S. state that accommodates religions that do not recognize brain death.  She is on life support in a New Jersey apartment, where she receives medical care.

“Alameda County jury will decide if Jahi McMath is alive”
(SFGate — September 7, 2017)
The family has recorded dozens of videos showing Jahi seemingly responding to commands to raise her right hand or kick her foot, according to court records….
[Dr. Alan] Shewmon also wrote in his declaration that Jahi’s MRI showed a “surprising extent of relatively preserved brain tissue.”

“Are ‘brain dead’ patients really dead?”
(BioEdge — September 2, 2017)
A new article in the Journal of Medical Ethics challenges conventional accounts of human death, and calls for a “new consensus” on the ethics of vital organ transplantation.

“Is Jahi McMath Alive?”
(National Review — July 10, 2017)
Jahi McMath suffered catastrophic complications from throat surgery in December of 2013 — 3/1/2 years ago.

She was soon declared to be brain dead, and Oakland Children’s Hospital informed her mother, Nailah Winkfield, that life support would be terminated.  Winkfield sued, but after an independent medical examination, the judge ruled that Jahi was deceased and allowed a death certificate to be issued….She was moved to New Jersey, where she remains today.

A judge has permitted Winkfield to demonstrate that the death declaration was erroneous. Important evidence in that process was just filed in the penalty of perjury declaration of an internationally respected neurologist, who states that Jahi’s condition is no longer consistent with a brain death determination.