Jahi McMath, a 13 year old Oakland, California, resident, who was declared brain dead following tonsillectomy surgery, late last year by Oakland Children’s hospital brain death experts, is alive and always was alive, according to her mother, Naileh Winkfield and their spokesperson, San Francisco attorney, Christopher Dolan.
Jahi has once again become front page news because her attorney is petitioning the courts to rescind the death certificate issued by the Oakland Coroner’s office as a condition for allowing her to be released into her mother’s care from the hospital.
Jahi left Oakland Children’s hospital (now referred to as Benioff Children’s Hospital) in the dark of night, by ambulance on January 3, 2014, under heavily guarded care to an undisclosed facility.
Jahi was, merely hours before her surgery, just an ordinary 13 year old girl with sleep apnea problems who was going into the hospital for a minor procedure which would require her to be in the hospital, at most, for 24 hours.
Following her surgery she has become quite an embarrassment for medical science as well as a financial liability for Children’s hospital and the organ donation transplant industry. She is, hourly, daily, showing the world that she is not brain dead. She is not dead, period, as the hospital declared that she was.
She is the evidence that a brain death definition is merely a tool of a fast growing industry that is aggressively attempting to fulfill the requests for healthy organs for transplants.
Human organs to be successfully transplanted into another human being must be fresh which means removed from a body that is still alive, is still functioning. Organs from a dead body, a cadaver, are of no life preserving value to another living human being.
Therefore, creating a definition of brain death that allows medicine to declare that a patient is dead provides for that allowance.
Dr. Paul Byrne, a family consultant and recognized authority on the subject of brain death, upon learning that experts are suggesting that Jahi’s continued presence in the world of the living might be “nothing short of a miracle” responded by saying: Of course, they would have to say something like that since, being scientists they could not admit that their “universally accepted definition of brain death is wrong.”
Dr. Byrne feels quite confident in this statement because research shows that the definition of what constitutes brain death has, since first offered to the public in 1968 by the Harvard Medical School’s definition of brain death, has been in constant flux.
Whenever, according to Byrne, the definition has been challenged by some new event a new definition has been created to palliate the fears of the citizenry and to maintain the lucrative organ transplant industry.
At least three Catholic Pope’s have spoken out against transplants of unpaired organs for the very reason that removal of a vital organ such as a heart, lungs, liver, etc, would cause the death of that organ donor.
In 1991, Pope John Paul ll speaking to a group on Organ Transplants at the first International Congress on the Transplant of Organs, stated: “Furthermore, a person can only donate that of which he can deprive himself without serious danger or harm to his own life or personal identify, and for a just and proportionate reason. It is obvious that vital organs can only be donated after death.”
Pope John Paul stated further: “Death can mean decomposition, disintegration, a separation. It occurs when the spiritual principle which ensures the unity of the individual can no longer exercise its functions in and upon the organism, whose elements left to themselves disintegrate.”
Jahi shows every indication of being an integrative, functioning human being. Her body has not disintegrated, the attorney has provided videos showing her moving her feet and hands on command, her body is processing nutrients, she has begun menstrual periods. Jahi has healed from her tonsilectomy surgery. No dead body has the capability of healing itself.
If there is any miracle involved, said Byrne, it is the fact that Jahi’s mother has been successful in keeping the organ donation industry away from her daughter.
Immediately upon the medical mishap during the tonsillectomy and Jahi falling into what appeared to be a coma, organ donation “requesters” approached the family to release their daughter’s body for the purpose of obtaining her organs for transplantation.
The mother, though heavily distraught with the knowledge that her daughter’s life was in serious jeopardy had the good sense to say “no” to their requests. She knew, she said at the time, that her daughter was alive. Her bond, her love, her desire to protect and defend her daughter was and continues to be quite strong.
The organ transplant personnel nor pressure from the hospital administrators and lawyers was not able to induce her, in her very vulnerable state, to surrender her daughter to this human insult.
This rejection of the request for her organs produced a response from the hospital in which they informed the mother that her daughter had been declared brain dead and they were removing her from a breathing ventilator. It was only through the intervention of a lawyer and a petition to the court that prevented this from happening.
This very declaration that she was still on a ventilator should have been an indication that she was alive. Why would they keep someone on a ventilator who was dead unless they intended to take that person’s organs?
There are recorded stories of patients declared brain dead who have awakened from their coma-like condition. They have stated, as did one woman who addressed a conference on euthanasia in Southern California last year, stated: Though she was unable to respond either through movement or sound, she heard everything that the medical personnel and visitors said while in her hospital room. They were, she said, indicating that she was being considered as an organ donor.
Doctors and nurses work hard to develop their skills and expertise. The medical profession is worthy of respect, but it is not infallible. It is, like so many other professions and businesses becoming subject to control by outside forces bent on turning that respect to utilization for totally different outcomes.
People are quickly becoming commodities, human resources benefiting society but not themselves.
With the passage in California this term of certain health care-End-of-Life legislation expanding the ability of assisted suicide promoting groups to access vulnerable disabled and elderly citizens, there will be a huge promotion of suicide assisting activities. California is already “covered” with tv and newspaper advertisements about how wonderful palliative care is and how we certainly don’t want our loved ones to suffer the pain or discomfort of a terminal illness or the family to be discomforted by a prolonged death of a family member.
Governor Brown has also signed a driver’s license bill that will allow certain certified agencies at the scene of accidents to swipe driver’s licenses for evidence that they are organ donors. There is even a very genuine possibility that the absence of a designation will be considered as a designation for being an organ donor.
In school it is assumed that students are automatically to be included in sex education classes unless there is an opt-out form filed in the office. It is clearly possible that the same negative opt-out will soon be required for drivers licenses.
Take care, stay well, be informed.
Spero columnist Camille Giglio is a resident of California who writes on human rights and end-of-life issues.