Jahi McMath is no longer inside the hospital where doctors declared her brain-dead after tonsil surgery last month. But family members won't reveal where they took the 13-year-old after Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland released her Sunday night. "We're very relieved that she got safely to where she needed to be, because we were all very afraid, given the fragile condition as she wasted away at Children's, that she might not make it," attorney Chris Dolan told reporters Monday. I think we can safely say, that having a death certificate issued with your name on it means you didn't make it.
The move ends one chapter of a weeks-long struggle between the hospital, which sought to remove Jahi from a ventilator after doctors and a judge concluded she was brain-dead, and her relatives, who fought in court to keep her on the ventilator and contended she showed signs of life.
"As a family, we are definitely relieved that she's no longer at Children's Hospital, but we're all emotionally drained," Omari Sealey, the girl's uncle, told CNN's Piers Morgan Live on Monday night. "This has been an incredible roller-coaster ride of emotions. He said so long as his niece's heart is beating, Jahi is alive. "She's moving a lot more. She responds to audio and touch, and more compelling evidence is the fact that she can move her head and neck," Sealey said.
Jahi -- who was declared brain-dead December 12 after post-surgery complications that her family says included severe bleeding and cardiac arrest -- was moved from the hospital Sunday accompanied by a critical-care team. She was attached to a ventilator, but with no feeding tube in place.
Ok...so let me start by saying that I sympathize with the family and I can't imagine the heartbreak of losing a child. With that being said, here is why brain dead means dead.
A person who is brain dead may appear alive -- there may be a heartbeat, they may look like they're breathing, their skin may still be warm to the touch.But doctors say there is no life when brain activity ceases. If the brain dies, the body dies. When people discuss "coma" and braindead", they use the terms interchangeably. "Coma" is the broader term used to describe a prolonged state of unconsciousness, according to the Mayo Clinic. Outwardly, it resembles sleep. Doctors may sometimes purposefully put a patient into a coma to give the brain time to heal. Comas rarely last longer than a couple of weeks, according to the clinic; patients can fully regain consciousness or may transition from a coma into a persistent vegetative state. (Terry Schiavo)
Someone in a persistent vegetative state has lost most higher cognitive function, but his or her brain shows some activity. The patient may open their eyes or exhibit small movements, but cannot speak or respond to commands. Some patients can recover from this state. These are the Miracle's that people are posting as being awakened from "brain death" by the power of prayer, but in actuality it's more like a coma, not actual brain death.
Both these situations are different from brain death: According to the Uniform Determination of Death Act, an individual is dead when he or she "has sustained either (1) irreversible cessation of circulatory and respiratory functions, or (2) irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem."
"Brain death" means both the upper and lower part of the brain are not functioning. That command center of the body that regulates the central nervous system is unable to perform. However, some function, such as a heartbeat, may linger.
But without brain function, the body eventually shuts down, unless there is medical intervention. Someone on a ventilator may appear to be breathing, but cannot breathe on their own. Wait...she is on a ventilator, right? What does that mean? She can't breathe on her own, her brain can't regulate the central nervous system, ergo...she's dead.
Jahi's mother, Nailah Winkfield, has said, "I would probably need for my child's heart to stop to show me that she was dead. Her heart is still beating, so there's still life there." That's because she is hooked up to a machine that is doing the breathing and pumping her heart for her. If she were to be unplugged from all those machines that were doing the things her brain should be doing if it were truly functioning, she would have to face the reality that her baby is gone. That is something she simply is not prepared to do. There is no reason to keep this child on prolonged life support unless they are trying to save her organs for donation or give the family a chance to say goodbye. They have had more than enough time for both outcomes.
Let's be clear, no one that has met the criteria for brain death has survived, no one and a decomposing body is not eligible for medical treatment. Taking a dead body to a long term facility to heal it, is ethically and morally wrong. I blame this woman's attorney and the religious community for giving her false hope in thinking that Jahi will ever open her eyes, smile at her mother, ride her bike, play her video games, go on a diet, have a first kiss, have a first crush, go to the prom, and enjoy all the joys and heartbreaks that make up this crazy path of life. The death certificate has been issued, it's a done deal, and the person that needs to heal is the mother, because little Jahi can't be fixed.
The family will eventually regret this, along with the faciltiy and religious nutjobs that encouraged this Insane course of action. Gradually her muscles will atrophy, turn to mush, and she will break down more and more to where they will have no choice but to face the obvious, while having to question, did we just torture her for months, since the claim was that she was alive and the only clear proof of not hearing a beating heart will do, without unhooking the machines to get that aforementioned proof . That's something everyone that sanctioned this tragic tale will have to live with. Please pull the plug and stop putting yourselves through this pain needlessly by praying for a Miracle that will never happen.
The point is, the outcome is the same, Jahi McMath is dead.