Human Exceptionalism

Really? Stanford Doc Says No Jahi Life

This is disturbing. Two internationally respected neurologists conclude that Jahi McMath isn’t brain dead, and the Stanford court appointed independent expert isn’t even curious to see what is going on?

Apparently not, as Dr. Paul Graham Fisher says the evidence presented “isn’t enough.” But what about the videos appearing to show here reacting to requests? From his letter to the judge dated October 6, 2014:

Videos of hand and foot movements, coincident with verbal commands heard on audio cannot confirm or refute brain death, and are not substitute for in-person serial neurological examinations by a physician.

But surely, they are cause to agree that those serial examinations should be performed!

Dr. Fisher notes that no serial apnea tests have been performed. Fine, do the tests!

What about the EEG? 

A “flat” electroencephalogram (EEG)…is not required for the determination of brain death…The EEG performed 9/1/14 was not performed in standard conditions, but rather, at an apartment…

Fine, do it right and see what, if anything, is cooking! 

What about blood flow to the brain, as reported in Machado’s declaration per MRI? The right test wasn’t performed, Fisher says. OK. do the right test.

Menarche commencing, indicating sexual maturing? “Not relevant.” But Shewmon testified that is unprecedented in the literature.

His bottom line conclusion:

Overall, none of the current materials presented in the declaration refute my 12/23/14 examination and consultation finding…None of the the declarations provide evidence that Jahi McMath is not brain dead.

That’s not true. They might not provide sufficient evidence, but certainly the videos of Jahi’s apparent conscious reaction to requests to move her limbs–and the testimony of internationally respected physicians that she is not brain dead–is “evidence.”

I find it stunning that Fisher isn’t even curious enough to want to perform a thorough reexamination pursuant to the criteria he thinks determinative. 

More, it seems to me that relying on tests from 10 months ago when current tests–even if insufficient–at least appear to show things may have changed (or not gone as earlier predicted) is a matter of digging in the heels rather than seeking objective truth.

Here’s my bottom line as one who believed she was dead last year:

– Maintaining trust in the integrity of the system, alone warrants a second look.

– So does the interest of science, because we may have witnesses an unprecedented event in brain death science.

– So does the potential future of a little girl.

“Not enough? Fine. Conduct the kinds of tests and examinations that would be sufficient. 

If this were a death penalty case, the level of evidence presented would create sufficient doubt to justify a reopen because the case involves life and death.  If we can do that for a murderer, surely we can for an innocent and potentially alive little girl. Let’s make sure Jahi McMath is really dead.

 

 

 

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