Jahi McMath: Follow-up

After I posted my thoughts on the Jahi McMath case a good friend of mine (Hi, K.S!!) e-mailed me this article that posits Jahi can regulate her own body temperature, therefore her hypothalamus is working, and therefore she is not brain dead.

I’m always fascinated in what people think of these issues and instead of just waving things to the side as nonsense, I try to look at things in a logical sense to see if they have merit. I think all people on BOTH sides need to do this.

Now, it is an interesting point that if she can do this– is part of her brain functioning?

The first thing to note is the post is authored by Dr. Byrne whose bio states is a certified neonatologist and pediatrician. I mean, to be honest, his bio is impressive. It seems he should be quite knowledgeable in this area.

The first issue I have with his article as that the medical information he has is not sourced. So, how did he get this information? He doesn’t state in his own piece that he examined the child though this article states he did. But if you read through Dr. Byrne’s piece– it seems as though he has collected facts from elsewhere. I mean, why not say, “I examined Jahi and these were my findings.”

At one point, the doctor states:

“The ‘poor care’ I am referring to here is the prolonged starvation; the protracted and unnecessarily repeated apnea testing conducted in a potentially deleterious manner; the deprivation of needed thyroid medication; refusing to treat an adrenal gland problem that arose; et cetera.”

From the hospital stand-point, they were waiting for her family to come to terms with the brain death issue– which is likely why they weren’t feeding her. My guess is they were providing IV fluids to keep her hydrated. The apnea test he refers to is a test for brain death and he doesn’t expand on what he thinks was deleterious. The deprivation of thyroid medication actually supports the theory of brain death because her brain was not signaling to produce these hormones– and same with the adrenal gland issue.  

The only other instance I found that mentions her self-regulation of body temperature is this article where her attorney, Christopher Dolan, states this. Well, one, he’s not exactly unbiased. And two, I’m always wary of medical information coming from a non-medical person. BEWARE. I mean, don’t come to me for advice if you’re in jail. What makes me more suspicious is that Christopher Dolan, according to this article, is trying to change state law from using brain death as legal death. He sates it should always be the family’s decision to terminate life support— not the state’s.

This is my personal opinion but the more he keeps this case in the forefront– the more he is paid. I may be cynical but he has reasons other than family advocacy to keep this case going ($$$ and notoriety to name a few.) I pray he is doing this for the right reason.

This is just a big can of worms. Again, I am pro-life. I believe in the value of life but there does come a point that because we can doesn’t mean we should and, for me, prolonging a death is just that.

What about you? What should be considered legal death: the heart stopping or loss of brain function? Who should decide to withdraw care when there is no hope of recovery?

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