Jan. 3, 2013 (LifeIssues) – “Who wants to know the date and the time their child would die?”
This is the heart-wrenching and pain-filled plea of Nailah Winkfield, the mother of 13-year-old Jahi McMath. Currently, Jahi is in the midst of a life-and-death battle. After a routine tonsillectomy was performed to help correct Jahi’s sleep apnea, devastating complications arose. Ultimately, she suffered a cardiac arrest. Three days later, she was declared “brain dead” and the medical facility at Children’s Hospital Oakland in California informed—didn’t ask, but informed—the family that Jahi would be taken off life support. Since then, Jahi’s family has fought to keep her alive. The hospital’s shocking assertion forced Nailah to hire an attorney and seek out another facility that would be willing to give Jahi the care she requires. A hearing was held and a judge granted her until January 7 to determine Jahi’s fate.
This case should alarm everyone. The medical establishment is dictating when this child will die—and is doing so against the family’s wishes. As I investigated this story further, the hospital’s disregard for Jahi’s life became glaringly apparent. In multiple statements, hospital spokespersons have referred to Jahi not by her name, but as “dead,” “deceased” and even as a “body.” By not using her name or treating her as a person, their appalling lack of humanity is revealed. Furthermore, the hospital is unwilling to permit procedures for breathing and feeding tubes that would allow her to be transferred to another facility. It raises serious questions about the hospital’s intentions.
In an article by the National Review, Michelle Malkin calls it as she sees it. “Here’s reality: Children’s Hospital faces serious malpractice questions about its care of Jahi. Hospital execs have a glaring conflict of interest in wielding power over her life support.” Unfortunately, one has to ask, “Is there something the hospital is trying to hide?”
I and a growing number of others are asking the same question.
As a member of the board for the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network, I called Executive Director and my good friend, Bobby Schindler. His family’s struggle to attempt to save the life of his sister has served as a catalyst to helping others who face similar situations. In his response, he said, “Together with our team of experts, Terri’s Network believes Jahi’s case is representative of a very deep problem within the US healthcare system—particularly those issues surrounding the deaths of patients within the confines of hospital corporations, which have a vested financial interest in discontinuing life.” Terri’s Network is now collaborating with others to find a facility to care for Jahi.
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One of the other groups assisting Jahi’s family is the International Brain Research Foundation in New York. This organization performs cutting-edge research in brain health, including cures for brain injury. I believe the time has come to challenge the definition of “brain dead.” The terminology was developed over 50 years ago and there’s significant debate regarding the criteria. The Foundation CEO, Dr. Phil Defina, agrees. He’s even called it “outdated” and “archaic.” Further, he asks a poignant question, “Why do we want to jump ahead and pull the plug on this 13-year-old girl who may have a chance to recover? You want to err on the side of caution and not take away a life. What Jahi needs is more time.”
According to the New York Daily News, Jahi’s family and attorney, Chris Dolan, have reported that Jahi has shown signs of response by making movements when her parents speak to her. They don’t consider these movements involuntary because they only happen when she hears her parents’ voices. Her mother has said, “I don’t care what anyone has to say about what I’m doing… I have to do what is right for me and for Jahi.” I pray that they are given the time and the ability for Jahi to obtain the proper medical care she needs.
Bobby Schindler encourages everyone to diligently educate themselves in order to protect the lives of those they love, “Families and individuals must make themselves aware of what so-called ‘brain death’ is and what it is not.” He says it’s critical that everyone must educate themselves regarding their rights as patients. A good place to start is their website.
Especially under Obamacare, we’re forced to be our own advocates for health, as more and more, the medical establishment embraces death over life.
Reprinted with permission from the Life Issues Institute.