Dr. Paul Adam Byrne, Ohio resident, Pediatrician, Board Certified Neonatalogist since at least the 1960’s, founder of Life Guardian Foundation, was, along with Christopher Dolan, Attorney, the only physician to stand in the public square and declare, regardless of the official diagnosis of brain death, that Jahi McMath was not dead. The medical, legal, political and religious communities almost without exception, were silent.
Dr. Byrne continues to state firmly and clearly that Jahi McMath was alive at the time of the Oakland Children’s Hospital declaration of brain death. She is alive today. She will need time, nourishment, loving care along with protection from those who would still seek to take her life. Jahi is alive.
While on a visit to the Oakland, Ca. area Dr. Byrne spoke on 3/6/2014, to a group in Contra Costa County, California, presenting medical, legal and biological facts showing clearly and unequivocally why he has the knowledge and medical authority to state that which should be to everyone, the obvious and simple truths of life and death.
Dr. Byrne is on a self appointed mission to inform and educate the public about what he terms the deception and deliberate misleading of the public regarding brain death and organ transplantation, which, he declares was at the heart of the McMath confrontation with medicine.
According to Dr. Byrne who visited with Jahi McMath and with her family, at the time that Jahi was declared brain dead and placed on a ventilator, due to severe bleeding problems following tonsillectomy surgery for apnea (breathing and sleeping) problems, the mother was approached by an organ transplant team pressing the mother to sign a form releasing Jahi to the transplant team for organ removal.
When Mrs. Winkfield refused to release her daughter because she could see that Jahi was not dead, the hospital responded by declaring that they were going to remove the ventilator, feeding tube and medications leaving jahi with only a tube delivering sugar water to her body.
It was, apparently, only the media publicity that caused the hospital to keep the ventilator in place. For the three weeks that Jahi remained in the hospital while the family and Attorney tried every means to get the hospital to properly attend to their daughter, she received no nutrition, no medications.
The hospital stated publicly that Jahi’s body was only remaining warm because they had a warming blanket on her. Dr. Byrne says that after she was removed from the hospital, Jahi continued to be warmed first by three blankets, then two blankets, then only one blanket is all she now needs to keep warm. Her body is doing its work. She is receiving nutrition and medications.
The only way, apparently, that the family could get the hospital to release Jahi was to permit the hospital to request that the Coroner’s office complete a death certificate for Jahi. Which they did reluctantly.
Now because Jahi is officially listed as dead she is not recognized as eligible for MediCare and the family struggles to provide the needed financial support necessary for the medical facility where she resides to continue to provide for Jahi.
In order to understand why this declaration of brain death is so important to the medical profession and its association with organ transplantation it is necessary to know something about how and why this diagnosis was developed as opposed to what had previously been the standard definition.
1967, South Africa, Dr. Christiaan Barnard performed the first heart transplant, from a living donor, prior to any brain death declaration. Three days later, in New York, a heart was removed from a 3 day old baby and transferred into the body of an 18 day old baby. Both died, the 3 day old died when his heart was removed, the 18 day old died within hours of the transplant.
1968, An Ad Hoc Committee of the Harvard Medical School published an article entitled, “A definition of Irreversible Coma.” The first line of the article states that: “Our primary purpose is to define irreversible coma as a new criterion for death.”
1971, The Minnesota Criteria, followed by 30 “disparate sets of criteria” including the 1975 American Bar Association - ABA - referred to as the Uniform Determination of Death Act, or UDDA.
The UDDA codified several definitions stepping off from the basically recognized Common Law which was for a multitude of decades the accepted criteria of cessation of heart and respiratory activity. The UDDA added loss of brain and brain stem activity as another means of determining at least legally the death of a human being.
Dr. Byrne states that the brain has 18 separate functions that it performs. The UDDA requires that only one function be tested.
This definition does not mean that total bodily and brain functions are lost, gone, completely devoid of any signs of activity according to Dr. Byrne. The reason he so firmly declares this is that an organ, to be transplanted into another human body must still be functioning. a totally dead heart, for instance, is in a condition of decomposition
and unsuitable for transplantation.
The UDDA, according to Dr. Byrne, is a legal tool enabling the medical profession to bypass the understanding and reality of non-total death without placing the transplant doctor and team in the position of being charged with criminal activity when organs needed to sustain life are removed from one living body, causing instant death and placed into another living body to facilitate the continuation of that life.
Dr. Byrne spoke to his March 6th audience for two hours describing how the body works, his own forty-some years of intimate association with preemie babies and his work in helping to develop procedures and tools to provide life saving techniques to preemies and his extensive research and education in the field of medicine. He thoroughly described the contents of the various brain death declarations exposing the true purpose of these declarations to be self serving to what he describes as the financially lucrative organ transplant industry.
He developed the Life Guardian Foundation to educate the public on end of life issues. This organization has developed a form entitled the Physician Orders to Preserve and Protect Your Life - POPPYL.
This form is intended to protect the patient and require the physician to perform his sacred duty of caring for the patient as opposed to a currently popular form being aggressively promoted by a group called Compassion and Choices which has a form called POLST - Physician Orders for LIfe-Sustaining Treatment.
This POLST form exonerates the physician and any medical team from liability by encouraging a patient to sign a form rejecting all curative medical and restorative treatment, thereby, causing the patient to choose self-delivered, rather than physician delivered, suicide.
To Dr. Byrne’s whole message is simple. Truth, he says, is simple. Life begins at true conception (not what the abortion industry says is conception) and true death occurs when all bodily functions stop and decomposition begins, as opposed to what the UDDA declares death to be.
Spero columnist Camille Giglio is a freelance writer and activist.
To learn more about the Life Guardian Foundation’s work, click here.
Dr. Paul A. Byrne is a Board Certified Neonatologist and Pediatrician. He is the Founder of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center in St. Louis, MO. He is Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at University of Toledo, College of Medicine. He is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics and Fellowship of Catholic Scholars.
Dr. Byrne is past-President of the Catholic Medical Association (USA), formerly Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at St. Louis University in St. Louis, MO and Creighton University in Omaha, NE. He was Professor of Pediatrics and Chairman of the Pediatric Department at Oral Roberts University School of Medicine and Chairman of the Ethics Committee of the City of Faith Medical and Research Center in Tulsa, OK. He is author and producer of the film "Continuum of Life" and author of the books "Life, Life Support and Death," "Beyond Brain Death," and "Is 'Brain Death' True Death?"
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