Jahi McMath needs a miracle. She’s facing a deadline for her life support to be shut down at 5 p.m. on Monday.
The 13 year old California teen entered an Oakland hospital on Dec. 9 for surgery to treat sleep apnea. One procedure Jahi underwent was a tonsillectomy. She did wake up from the surgery, but went into cardiac arrest after she began bleeding from her mouth.
The hospital has declared Jahi brain dead. A search for a facility who will take her is proving nearly impossible. Despite the fact her doctors consider her deceased, Jahi’s family wants more time.
A fundraising site, the Jahi McMath Fund, has been established to pay for transport and other costs if a healthcare facility can be found.
Can a person come back after being declared brain dead?
Most experts say no.
However, in 2012 media reported a young British man named Steven Thorpe had defied the odds. Thorpe was only 17 when he was in a car crash in 2008. Thorpe was declared brain dead, and his parents had already been approached about donating the teen’s organs. Thorpe’s dad, however, got a second opinion despite the fact his son’s brain showed no electrical impulses.
Thorpe’s family got a private doctor to intervene; the United Kingdom has socialized healthcare.
A re-examination by a neurologist found a glimmer of hope—“faint brain waves.”
While Jahi and Steven’s cases are different, the British teen’s case stands in stark contrast to general thinking about brain death and life support.
Jahi has been on life support for three weeks.
Steven was discharged from the hospital about 5 weeks after the second opinion his dad sought paid off.
Missing from Jahi’s story is information about her insurance. Is the decision based on cost analysis of what it would take for her future needs? Is three weeks enough time, considering the child is only 13?
Whatever the case, as a new year follows the hope and goodwill of the Christmas season, we can all pray for Jahi and her family. If she was my child, I’d be doing everything I could to buy even just a small amount of time.
As Jahi’s family deals with her condition, the case is a reminder we only truly understand what a miracle is when we need one for someone we love.
(Commentary by Kay B. Day/Dec. 30, 2013)
Update, Dec. 31, 2013
A judge has extended the deadline for removing Jahi from life support. Fox News reported on the judge’s decision; note the chilling attitude the hospital caring for her is demonstrating. Sadly, there seems to be little regard for the sanctity of life. The hospital is calling Jahi “dead.” If that was truly the case, there would be no controversy over removing her from LIFE support. Worse, the hospital appears to be uncooperative in helping find this child a care facility.