Monday, January 06, 2014

Is Jahi McMath alive or dead?

The sad story of Jahi McMath, a 13-year-old girl from California, who went into cardiac arrest after complications from a tonsillectomy last month and was declared brain dead on Dec. 12, has brought  much public attention to the difficult moral, legal and spiritual questions that all families face when a loved one is dying.

Here is a timeline of the events that occurred in her case.

Father Jonathan Morris weighs in on Jahi McMath case:

Here is the opinion of one WV physician.

However, another physician challenges this opinion. Dr. Paul Byrne, a prominent Catholic pediatrician, visited the child in the hospital and “observed her responding to her grandmother’s voice and touch with a squirming movement,” according to The Associated Press.

“In my opinion, this signifies she is not dead,” Dr. Byrne said. “She should receive treatment as she is alive just like everyone else with severe head injury. If she gets treatment, she will have a chance to recover brain function.”

The Terri Schiavo Life and Hope Network have helped the parents continue their daughter's "fight for life."

There is obviously something very bizarre about this case as one examines it. How can a thirteen- year-old girl who undergoes a simple tonsillectomy in a hospital end up brain dead? Why did the hospital refuse to let the parents remove their daughter from the hospital to take her to another facility?

In an article Michelle Malkin wrote for the National Review, she concludes:

“Here’s reality:  Children’s Hospital faces serious malpractice questions about its care of Jahi. Hospital execs have a glaring conflict of interest in wielding power over her life support.” Unfortunately, one has to ask, “Is there something the hospital is trying to hide?”

Issues of life and death are complex, as this Catholic bioethisist  shares. I am still befuddled by this case, but am praying for this young woman and her family.

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