Woman Dies After Hospital Declared Her “Brain Dead” and Threatened to Pull the Plug Without Consent

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Jan 5, 2016   |   7:54PM   |   Reno, NV

A young woman declared brain dead at a Nevada hospital in May died Monday while on life support.

The Associated Press reports that Aden Hailu, the 20-year-old college student at the center of a legal battle after the hospital attempted to remove her from a ventilator, died about 4:30 p.m. Monday at Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center in Reno, Nevada.

David O’Mara, an attorney for the family, told the AP that the young woman died of respiratory failure.

The University of Nevada student had exploratory surgery in April after she began experiencing abdominal pain, LifeNews previously reported. During the surgery, she suffered brain damage from a lack of oxygen and never woke up from the anesthesia, reports state.

Her father, Fanuel Gebreyes, sued the hospital after it declared Hailu brain dead in May and tried to take her off a ventilator. Gebreyes fought the case all the way to the Nevada Supreme Court, which ruled that the hospital had been too hasty in its decision about Hailu.

People reports that while doctors said Hailu’s condition was “rapidly declining” in April, they also said she showed some eye response and arm movements. Early EEG tests showed that Hailu had some brain function; however, a later test showed that the signs of brain function no longer existed, the report states. On May 28, doctors labeled Hailu brain dead after determining that she could not breathe on her own without a ventilator, the report states.

In tragic cases like Hailu’s, families often fight for their children’s chance to recover, no matter how slim the chance or expensive the treatment. There are cases where individuals have lived and recovered because their families refused to give up on them; however, many cases do end in the child’s death.

In November, LifeNews reported a similarly tragic story of a 7-year-old from New York City who doctors also declared brain dead after a choking accident. Her family fought to keep the young girl on life support, but she died several days later.

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However, another young girl, Jahi McMath, is still alive more than two years after a hospital declared her brain dead and her family fought to keep her alive. In November, the girl’s family celebrated her 15th birthday at her bedside at a New Jersey hospital and posted a series of pictures on her Facebook page.