Human Exceptionalism

Claim: Jahi “Interactive” and “Responsive”

I have read the petition filed on behalf of Jahi McMath’s mother to reopen the case and declare her daughter alive. Here is the gist:

Petitioner [Jahi’s mother] is in possession of current evidence, including MRI evidence of the integrity of the brain structure, electrical activity in her brain as demonstrated by EEG, the onset of menarche…and her response to audible commands…demonstrating that Jahi McMath’s brain death was not “irreversible.”

This is a crucial contention. For brain death–or heart death, for that matter–to be “dead” the system failure must be irreversible. The contention here is that because some capacities returned, her condition was not factually irreversible, and hence, she is alive.

Back to the petition:

Petitioner’s experts will testify that Jahi may have, at the time of Dr Fischer’s examination, demonstrated evidence of brain death due to swelling of her brain…but, now that the swelling has receded, and she has had time to receive proper post incident medical care, she has demonstrable brain function.

Note, this isn’t evidence, it is an offer of proof. There also may be more evidence of brain function than listed in the petition.

At some point, I would expect sworn declarations under penalty of perjury from the experts claiming that Jahi is alive. If I can get them, I will describe here. 

This case should be heard and the evidence presented. But it had better be convincing. Too much is at stake societally for a claim of this nature to be made frivolously.

Or to put it another way: Jahi’s family deserves one bite of the apple. But only one bite.

By the way, the case should not be decided based on money, but whether Jahi is alive or dead.

HT: Thaddeus Mason Pope’s Medical Futility Blog.

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