Fierce legal battle in US over teenager’s “right to life”

By Caribbean Medical News Staff

Doctors say that her nutrition is improving but death is inevitable. Approximately a month ago, teenager Jahi McMath was in Children’s Hospital Oakland for surgery to treat sleep apnea. While there, medical complications arose and she was declared brain dead. A legal battle has since ensued. According to reports, her brain dead status was confirmed by several doctors on December 12, 2013. She was admitted on December 9th, 2013 to have her tonsils removed as part of her treatment.

Critical care paediatrician, Heidi Flori of Children’s Hospital said in a Court filing that “tissues under her skin were losing their elasticity, her muscles were contracting and blankets were needed to keep her at a constant temperature”.

However, the family in a desperate attempt to move her from the facility and allow her the right to die naturally and not be taken off life support, has had her transported to another facility after a judge decided that she could be removed from the Hospital where she was originally being treated.

“This is basically organ support; it’s not life support,” said Dr. Neal E. Slatkin, a neurologist and chief medical officer at San Jose’s Hospice Of The Valley to the California press. “Her organs are alive, but she’s not alive. Her organs are slowly dying. Her fate is written; it’s just a question of when everything fails.”

The family is remaining silent as to who is caring for her after weeks of legal fighting and the hospital location or facility remains undisclosed. Doctors at the new facility say that while her condition has stabilized, “death is inevitable”.

“Dead is dead. There aren’t grades of dead,” said Slatkin. “Anything that (the attorney) or the family may perceive as improvement does not indicate that she is alive in any way.”

According to Flori, the deteriorating will continue until she finally passes away regardless of any procedures or attempts that any facility makes, she reiterated in Court papers. Slatkin agrees with other physicians that any other attempts to save her life will prove futile despite any nutritional or other support. He said that there are no medicinal or other interventions that can bring the “brain dead back to life”.

She is currently being fed through a feeding tube.

(Source San Jose Mercury News)



Leave a Comment

Security Question * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

Powered by WordPress