We also need to duly consider whatever truths and good ideas we come upon. Never should any important fact be dismissed or buried, particularly such facts as those offering a "short-cut," overarching interpretation to a matter. Therein is a key and vital component of the Jahi McMath debate, a key fact that, strangely, has been almost totally ignored in the broader public dialogue about this young girl in hospital. I am referring to the restored ability of Jahi's body to self-regulate her core body temperature.
This is deeply significant, because the human body relies upon the hypothalamus portion of the brain to conduct the temperature-regulating function. More to the point, Jahi's brain was still functioning to a notable degree, at least during part of the material time of the famous/infamous "brain death" declaration. And her brain would continue to function for at least as long as she is still able to self-regulate her own body temperature. To wit, Jahi's brain, then, obviously did not fulfill "irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brain," the wording of the Uniform Determination of Death Act (UDDA).
While it is true that Jahi was not self-regulating her body temperature for most of December, a sign of lost hypothalamic function, there is also the later, additionalfact in that regard... the fact that keeps getting publicly ignored. Direct observers, including at least one doctor, had noted in early January that Jahi had actually regained her ability to self-regulate core body temperature. This empirical "data point" is rendered increasingly significant in its dynamic of sudden reappearance. In other words, that function of the brain had actually restored itself to working order, and did so weeks after that particular brain function had earlier supposedly stopped. That is remarkable. Such a dynamic, or trend, of "restored" brain function extraordinarily, scientifically, is not consistent with "irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brain," but rather suggests a degree of recovery from brain injury. And that recovery is in spite ofsome extremely poor care this young girl was being given at the first hospital facility, where they insisted and persisted in withholding needed interventions before and even after there were such signs of restored brain activity. The "poor care" I am referring to here is the prolonged starvation; the protracted and unnecessarily repeated apnea testing conducted in a potentially deleterious manner; the deprivation of needed thyroid medication; refusing to treat an adrenal gland problem that arose; et cetera.
Whether or not Jahi's hypothalamus, part of her brain, continues to function; whether her brain further heals or degrades over the coming period; whether or not the first hospital had further harmed her recovery chances in their practice of starving and depriving her – irrespective of all of that – Jahi and her family still deserved the chance to explore and become informed about some of the possibilities that other doctors believed to exist for this beloved family member. Given that what the family wanted was simply the reasonable choice of obtaining alternate expert opinions at an unrelated facility, in order to more assuredly gain closure one way or the other, then that is what they should have received. It is what they needed as a family. It was a situation that called for profound application of family centered care principles. But that is not what they got. This family, like all of us, would also have deserved for such to proceed in a complete, open, honest, moral, and respectful medical environment. But that was also not entirely the kind of scientific and social environment that Jahi and her family were immersed in, at that first hospital.
I cut out most of the rest of the article, i'll post the link though. Has anyone else heard this??? I thought her brain was already starting to liquefy
UPDATED ARTICLE FROM LA TIMES
Jahi McMath family attorney: 'They are not fools. They know the odds'
Christopher Dolan, attorney for Nailah Winkfield, mother of Jahi McMath, speaks during a court hearing in Oakland on Dec. 23, 2013. (Kristopher Skinner / Associated Press)
The attorney for the family of Jahi McMath is defending their actions in a new op-ed that criticizes "self-righteous commenters" and praises the 13-year-old brain-dead girl's mother for her courage despite "incendiary, hateful public rhetoric."
The op-ed by San Francisco attorney Christopher Dolan, published in the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday, comes after medical ethicists and physicians have criticized the decision to keep Jahi on a ventilator despite her being declared brain dead on Dec. 12 -- a decision affirmed by at least three neurologists.
Medical experts have said the decision to allow the family to transfer the girl from Children's Hospital Oakland to an undisclosed facility has only perpetuated misconceptions of brain death that have dogged the Jahi case since her family went public.
Neurologists told an Alameda County Superior Court judge that Jahi was unable to breathe on her own, had no blood flow to her brain and had no sign of electrical activity three days after she underwent surgery Dec. 9 to remove her tonsils, adenoids and uvula at Children's Hospital Oakland and went into cardiac arrest, causing extensive hemorrhaging in her brain.
The judge issued an order keeping Jahi on a ventilator until her body could first be transferred to the county coroner, and then to a private facility.
Dolan, though, has been widely criticized as having fed false hope to the McMath family that somehow their daughter -- who was issued a death certificate by the Alameda County coroner -- will recover.
In his op-ed, Dolan hit back, contending that those who have "attacked" Jahi's family do so arguing several "simplistic, uninformed points: The family is either stupid, misled by their lawyer or trying to exploit the system."
He noted that elsewhere in the U.S., such as New Jersey, there are personal religious exemptions for those who object to brain death, suggesting Jahi's case would not have been such a spectacle had it occurred there.
But experts point out that the money the McMath family received from supporters to transfer their daughter will eventually run out, and no amount of artificial help will stop Jahi's body from decomposing.
Bodies of the brain-dead have been maintained on respirators for months or, in rare cases, years. However, once cessation of all brain activity is confirmed, there is no recovery, said Rebecca S. Dresser, professor of law and ethics in medicine at Washington University in St. Louis, to The Times.
Even so, Dolan wrote that the McMath family "are not fools."
"They know the odds," he wrote. "They want time, free from the threats of the hospital to pull the plug."