Brain death- 13 y/o Jahi McMath
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02-01-2014, 09:41 AM
Brain death- 13 y/o Jahi McMath
This is a current news story in the US.

13 year old girl has surgery, shortly afterwards she has problems, loses blood flow to the brain, doctors have declared her brain dead. At first the hospital was leaving her on the ventilator to give the family a chance to say goodbye and accept that she is gone. It was an act of compassion for the family. But since Dec 9th the family still has not come to terms with her death. She is still on a ventilator.

They have gone to court, were given a deadline, then the deadline was extended till Jan 7.

excerpt from the CNN article noted below

Quote:A significant minority in the medical profession continue to believe people with dead brains and beating hearts are still alive. Believers include some of our wisest minds -- a Harvard professor, an National Institute of Health theorist, a chief of neurology at UCLA, and the former chair of the U.S. President's Council all reject brain-based death pronouncement. They agree with Jahi's parents that death is linked to circulatory loss.
Others take a position more liberal than the standard law that defines brain death. They favor pronouncing death in some cases even when some parts of the lower brain are still functioning. I have defended that view since 1973.


what are your thoughts? and more importantly have you shared your end of life wishes with your family or put them in writing?


Huff Post - brain death debate

CNN Opinion- let parents decide death


"Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing"--Helen Keller
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02-01-2014, 09:58 AM
RE: Brain death- 13 y/o Jahi McMath
They need to stop. At this point a Judge should just end this farce the girl is dead and has been for weeks. I feel for the parents and understand why they are doing this but it is not healthy they need to let go she is dead.

(31-07-2014 04:37 PM)Luminon Wrote:  America is full of guns, but they're useless, because nobody has the courage to shoot an IRS agent in self-defense
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02-01-2014, 10:05 AM
RE: Brain death- 13 y/o Jahi McMath
Brain Dead isnt simply Brain Dead.

It is when there is a loss of oxygenation ( no more flow of oxygen into parts of brain) as a consequence of which the parts of the brain that no longer get oxygen are irreversibly damaged.

There is no such thing as a "universal" braindead that means that a doctor will instantly know what parts of the brain are ruined since brain dead means that certain parts of the brain might still be functioning.

If the entire brain was ruined a person couldnt actualy be kept alive even through machines, because of the vital functions controled by the brainstem. So to make a judgement over this case the details of her condition would have to be released to those making the judgement. And releasing patient data to the public is of course a crime.

But I think it is important for me to underline that I do not question the doctors judgement of the situation.

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02-01-2014, 10:41 AM
RE: Brain death- 13 y/o Jahi McMath
The family was contacted by a woo quack follower waving a book by some doctor who "claimed" brain death doesn't mean they're actually dead or will die. From what I've heard the book was readily dismissed by the medical community but gobbled up by the public.

She isn't in a vegetative state, the poor child isn't breathing on her own...she was intubated by the hospital at the first sign of trouble and has remained on a ventilator since. Its tragic but the family needs to let her go.

Honestly, I think it's immoral for anyone to give this family hope. Their insurance likely won't cover long-term care of what is already a dead body and this is why they've had such a hard time finding a place willing to take her. Their lawyer no doubt has promised them a huge windfall suing the hospital that would negate the costs. The hospital is being right not allowing their staff to participate in two surgeries on essentially a corpse. Moving the child across the state??? I guess the family plans on just packing up and leaving...the whole thing is just stupid.

Let parents determine brain death? Why bother with doctors at all? There's a reason that parent's who are doctors are constantly warned NOT to treat members of their family.

I know a couple doctors in the bay area who work at Stanford, who instantly heard of the family's plight and threw their hand up into air saying, "not it." They don't want to touch this case with a 20 foot pole.

This isn't even a right to die issue. The poor child is already legally dead.


But as if to knock me down, reality came around
And without so much as a mere touch, cut me into little pieces

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02-01-2014, 11:11 AM
RE: Brain death- 13 y/o Jahi McMath
The court initially had independent doctors retest her and confirmed brain death. The court then gave a dead line to unplug….Monday-Dec 30 @ 5pm. It should have all ended then, but for some reason the court decided on Monday afternoon to give the family until Jan 7. This action reinforced to the parents that 'their prayers were answered' and they were given more time.

Dec 9- Dec 30 was plenty of time for an act of compassion for the parents to come to grips.

I don't understand why the court gave them more time?


"Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing"--Helen Keller
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02-01-2014, 11:59 AM
RE: Brain death- 13 y/o Jahi McMath
(02-01-2014 11:11 AM)Bows and Arrows Wrote:  I don't understand why the court gave them more time?

Political pressure. There were demonstrations in Oakland.

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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04-01-2014, 08:47 PM
RE: Brain death- 13 y/o Jahi McMath
Do you remember the woman in PA, Terri Shavio (sp?) who husband finally won the right to remove her feeding tube over objections of the woman's parents?

After that case, I wrote a living will. It was like $50 at legal zoom for a template. You don't even need a lawyer, you can write it out and have it notarized. I told my husband and my mother that I did not want to be kept alive if I lived in days in a chair/bed, drooling and shitting on myself with no one home upstairs.

A little rudeness and disrespect can elevate a meaningless interaction to a battle of wills and add drama to an otherwise dull day - Bill Watterson
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04-01-2014, 09:00 PM
RE: Brain death- 13 y/o Jahi McMath
(02-01-2014 10:05 AM)The Germans are coming Wrote:  Brain Dead isnt simply Brain Dead.

It is when there is a loss of oxygenation ( no more flow of oxygen into parts of brain) as a consequence of which the parts of the brain that no longer get oxygen are irreversibly damaged.

There is no such thing as a "universal" braindead that means that a doctor will instantly know what parts of the brain are ruined since brain dead means that certain parts of the brain might still be functioning.

If the entire brain was ruined a person couldnt actualy be kept alive even through machines, because of the vital functions controled by the brainstem. So to make a judgement over this case the details of her condition would have to be released to those making the judgement. And releasing patient data to the public is of course a crime.

But I think it is important for me to underline that I do not question the doctors judgement of the situation.

Braindead is braindead. It's determined by TESTS. MRI's, EEGs etc. No one says a doctor can "instantly know" anything. The determination is made AFTER the testing. The brainstem is obviously functioning, or her heart wouldn't beat, and her kidneys wouldn't function. That in no way means that it is possible for the other parts of her brain to EVER regain their function. They (the family) signed the surgical consent which SAYS there is a (small) risk of these events. They were informed this could happen, and they accepted the risk. There's always an unscrupulous lawyer somewhere who will take advantage of people in this situation. I bet they get her transferred to a nursing home, and California tax payers will pay out the nose for her care, for 50 years.

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04-01-2014, 09:25 PM (This post was last modified: 04-01-2014 10:09 PM by Losty.)
RE: Brain death- 13 y/o Jahi McMath
This whole thing is completely heartbreaking. While on one hand I guess I kind of understand the parents desperately clingy to the false hope given to them, though I really think the assholes who are giving them this false hope should be shot (at the very least in the leg). On the other hand, if my baby were dead I would be lost. I think I would be so completely devastated that I wouldn't be able to function enough to hire a lawyer and ask a judge for more time. The whole situation makes me very sad.
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04-01-2014, 10:02 PM
RE: Brain death- 13 y/o Jahi McMath
(04-01-2014 09:25 PM)LostandInsecure Wrote:  desperately clingy to the false hope given to them,

^^ THIS^^ happens way more often than it should.

Doctors are people and have hearts and compassion and don't want to be the bearer of bad news, and have hospital legal teams that probably dictate what they can and can't say…..but, sadly, bad news is just the thing families need honest info about.

When my Mom was in the hospital with a brain bleed, we asked a bazillion questions, and it seemed like we could never get any answers. My brother is a paramedic with 20 +years experience, I have EMS experience, we were asking pretty detailed questions looking for explanations and all our answers were vague. We were asking…"in your experience…." all the answers were the same "we just don't know" One nurse was brave enough to be honest, that my Mom was 76, had a serious brain bleed that did massive amounts of damage, that she most likely would not recover, that her heart was struggling, and it was doubtful she would ever come off the ventilator, and this loopy half conscious but completely unaware of anything state she was in was the best we could hope for. Since it was a nurse (and not a doc), we tried to confirm these things with the doctor, and still….'we just don't know- it could go either way'

And that is why families can't unplug and say goodbye. Doctors need to be brave enough to be truthful with families. Maybe there is a lawyer behind the scenes, maybe its something they are taught in med school, but I don't understand it all. It gives false hope.


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