“Brain Dead” and Life Support for Jahi McMath and Maybe Someday for Us

After an operation for sleep apnea, Jahi McMath had sever bleeding and went into cardiac arrest.  She was then tested by two doctors and pronounced dead or in other words “brain dead”.   Jahi body is being kept alive by medicine and the breathing machine.

Jahi_PoolPhoto from FoxNews

The family feel that the operation was batched and they want to keep Jahi on the breathing machine.  But the hospital said that she needs to be taken off because she is dead.  As soon as a person is pronounced, by two doctors (usually neurologist), as being “brain dead”, that is equal to signing the death certificate.

I am totally against the idea of “brain death”.  I have been present when many of these people have been classified as brain dead and they are kept on life support until they can have their organs harvested if the family allows this.

“Brain death” is a totally new concept.  Before death was only determined by the heart that has stopped beating and when no breath was coming out of the nose or mouth.   A person who is pronounced “brain dead” is totally alive in the sense that their heart is beating and the machine keeps them breathing.  Everything keeps on functioning in the body, as a normal person, other than there is no apparent brain activity.

I am happy to see a professional willing to stand up for the families of those so called “brain dead” people.  The more that they learn about the brain, the more they are learning that they do not know what is going on, in spite of the normal brain waves that can not be observed.

“The family’s attorney also asked Judge Evelio Grillo to allow a third evaluation by Paul Byrne, a pediatric professor at the University of Toledo. The hospital’s attorney objected to Byrne, saying he is not a pediatric neurologist.

The judge is expected to consider the request to use Byrne, and another hearing was scheduled for Tuesday morning.

Byrne is the co-editor of the 2001 book “Beyond Brain Death,” which presents a variety of arguments against using brain-based criteria for declaring a person dead.

In a phone interview, Byrne said he could not comment in detail because he had not seen any of Jahi’s medical records. But the fact that her ventilator is still functioning properly is a sign that she is alive, he said.

“The ventilator won’t work on a corpse,” he said. “In a corpse, the ventilator pushes the air in, but it won’t come out. Just the living person pushes the air out.” FoxNews

The test I have witnessed were for reflex reaction, eye dilation when exposed to bright light and water in the ear drum.  They also test for brain waves.  They also see if the person can breath with out the breathing machine (over breathe the machine).

Each human is unique and should be given time to see if they recover.  But as stated by the hospital representative, the insurance will not pay for a person who is pronounced brain dead to keep this person on life support which cost thousands of dollars a day.

A long time ago I read an article in the New England Medical Journal of four things that mimic brain death.  I do not remember then all, but I do remember hypothermia and being on drugs.

Let us pray for Jahi and her family.  This is a horrible experience for them.  Let us also pray for doctors to come up with a better way to determine if there is any brain activity, that can not now be measured, so that those who could recover, can be kept on the machines until they are able to live with out the machines.

We are so fortunate to be conscious and alive.  And when ever there is a doubt if a person may recover or may not recover, we always have to opt for life no matter what the cost.