Doctors Declared Her Brain Dead, But She is Still Alive. Now a Court Will Decide Her Fate

National   |   Indya Rennie   |   Feb 7, 2018   |   1:00PM   |   Washington, DC

Whether miraculously resurrected or incorrectly pronounced dead, Jahi McMath’s fate now rests in the hands of a California jury.

WND reports the outcome of the trial could determine whether the teen may return home to California for her continued medical care. She currently is receiving care at a hospital in New Jersey.

In 2013, after a routine tonsil surgery, then-13 year old Jahi McMath suffered cardiac arrest and was declared brain dead by the Children’s Hospital in Oakland, California, the Daily Mail reports.

The accepted medical indicators of brain death are “coma, absence of brainstem reflexes, and apnea.” California law seconds this medical opinion, stating that brain death is when someone experiences “irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem.”

However, the family refused to capitulate to medical and legal tradition, even as California doctors pushed tirelessly to confirm Jahi’s death.

The conflict reached the court. California Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo negotiated for both parties to reach a settlement by permitting the hospital to write a death certificate, but allowing Jahi’s family to remove her to another hospital while she was still attached to life support.

Jahi has remained on life support for four years in New Jersey, where hospitals are required to keep patients on life support if the family religiously objects to a brain death ruling. There, as the New Yorker documents, New Jersey doctors have worked tirelessly to preserve Jahi’s life.

Since then, Jahi has defied her death verdict.

From spring of 2014 to 2016, Jahi’s family released a plethora of videos showing her responding to touch and commands. In one video, Jahi twitched her feet when her mother, Nailah Wakefield, touched them with ice.

“Jahi responds to cold stuff,” Wakefield narrated in the background. “I don’t understand how a brain dead person can do that.”

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Although initially skeptical of Jahi’s case, retired expert neurologist Dr. Alan Shewmon later agreed with the girl’s family. After an extensive examination, he testified that Jahi is an “extremely disabled but very much alive teenage girl.”

Another doctor testified that this supposedly deceased girl experienced her first period while she was on life support in New Jersey, something that would not happen to a person who is dead.

The Daily Mail reports that in September of 2017, a California judge recognized and ruled that Jahi may, in fact, be alive.

The case will be settled soon by a jury verdict, beginning with the initial hearing on March 18 with the hospital, Jahi’s family and the judge.

Is Jahi brain dead, and consistently showing signs of life by mere coincidence? Was she correctly pronounced dead by the California hospital, and miraculously resurrected under the constant care of the New Jersey hospital? Or perhaps, either by accident or by will, were the California doctors wrong? Mistakes happen, but life is too precious to be gambled with.