Mother of Euthanasia Debate Subject Javona Peters Wants Answers About Death

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 25, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Mother of Euthanasia Debate Subject Javona Peters Wants Answers About Death Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 25
, 2008

Bronx, NY ( — Javona Peters was the subject of a debate over euthanasia and now her mother wants answers as to why she died and why a routine medical procedure put her in a coma initially. Peters was considered by some to be New York’s Terri Schiavo — a comatose girl whose family was divided over her medical fate.

Peters fell into a coma in October while she had a routine medical procedure at Montefiore Medical Center and she recently passed away on February 15.

Following a neurological operation, doctors said she had complications that would leave her deaf, blind, and unable to move, talk or think and eat on her own.

Doctors had pegged her as being in a persistent vegetative state, a medical diagnosis pro-life advocates dispute because so many patients have partially or fully recovered.

Peters’ parents, Janet Joseph and Leonard Peters, disagreed on whether or not to remove her feeding tube and take her life.

The fight to save Javona Peters reminded some of the struggle of the Schindler family in Florida to save the life of Terri Schiavo, a beloved daughter and sibling whose former husband eventually took her life.

Now, Joseph wants to know why Javona "just stopped breathing" and why she apparently died from natural causes.

She told the New York Daily News that life support was not cut off after Javona was transferred to Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, which helps victims of brain injuries.

"Nothing was held back, she was getting oxygen when needed, she was getting fluids, and she was on a feeding tube," Joseph said. "She died from complications from the [October] operation. I am devastated."

"We want to know what happened at Montefiore hospital and we want to hold someone accountable," Joseph told the newspaper. "Something happened in the operating room and we want to know what and who is responsible."

The Daily News indicated Joseph is awaiting an autopsy and that Leonard Peters and his family are also very upset by the news of Javona passing away.

Montefiore spokesman Steve Osborne told the newspaper Javona had a very rare allergic reaction to one of the anesthesia agents.

Javona’s funeral was held on Sunday.