Jahi McMath: Sometimes Things Are Not As They Seem

Bishop_Finn_boxAbout 5:30 p.m. on New Year’s Day, I took a phone call from a friend concerning Jahi McMath. She is the little girl in California whose routine tonsil surgery last month left her in a critical state.

I was between visits with friends on what was becoming a snowy evening to start the New Year. I headed back to my residence and eventually connected with Dr. Paul A. Byrne, M.D. who was looking for some assistance. I had met Dr. Byrne more than ten years ago when I was editor of the St. Louis Review, Diocesan weekly in St. Louis. We were then in a firestorm about a controversial protocol for end of life organ donations. We had written an editorial about the protocol, seeking conscience protection for health care workers who were rightfully hesitant about participating in non-heart-beating organ harvesting procedures at a local hospital. Dr. Byrne is a Board Certified Neonatologist and Pediatrician, and is Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at University of Toledo, College of Medicine. He has also emerged over the last decades as an expert on brain death. With his direction I ended up reading a ton of material on the subject and learning a lot about the phenomena of determining when death occurs.

Jahi is the 13 year old California girl whose tonsillectomy went wrong. On December 12 she was declared dead by doctors at the Children’s Hospital Oakland. But sometimes things are not as they seem, and Dr. Byrne, who went to Oakland a few days after Christmas, doesn’t believe Jahi is dead. What moved me most was something I had not yet read in any media accounts: He told me that Jahi was not totally unresponsive – but rather, when touched or talked to by family members, she moves her arms and/or legs. I must say that this is not what I imagined in the case of someone who is dead.

In Jahi’s circumstance, the little girl’s parents and family all want to keep Jahi alive, rather than removing life support at this time. No one entrusted with her guardianship is opposed to continuing Jahi’s life except the hospital where she – at the time of this writing – remains. It seems clear to me that the effort to keep Jahi alive is a matter of “extraordinary means.” As such in Catholic moral teaching a person or family could choose to end life support with moral justification. However, Catholic moral teaching would also support the extraordinary efforts required to keep the child alive, if that was the chosen path.

What the family desired was that the acute care facility, the children’s hospital, start feeding Jahi and begin therapy to prolong her life. Specifically the request that now came to me from Dr. Byrne was to help locate a doctor – an ENT, Ear, Nose, Throat, specialist – who would be licensed in California and who could perform a tracheotomy, so that Jahi could then be transported to a chronic care facility. One or more such facilities were ready to receive her. Money had been raised to transport Jahi. I started praying, and I also made several calls to friends in California to try to assist the family in caring for their loved child.

Let us go back, for a moment, to the issue of the determination of death. The brain death criteria were developed primarily because of the desire to transplant non-paired vital organs (e.g. heart, liver) to save other lives: the lives of persons needing such donations to survive. The needed organs for transplant must still be “alive;” they cannot start to decay or they no longer will be useful. Before these procedures for transplant had become viable practices, it was less important to know exactly when death had occurred. We knew that after a person had died, the body (or cadaver) became cold and rigor mortis (rigidity) occurred. From a theological perspective, the principle or source of life is the soul. What happens at death is that the soul leaves the body. This cannot be observed, except that the signs of death (rigors, loss of temperature, decay) begin to show themselves after death has occurred.

“Brain death” is established by a measure of brain activity (or loss of it). Dr. Byrne would point out that brain waves are a measure of such activity in three parts of the brain: the cerebrum, the cerebellum, and the brain stem. He would hold, and has written in many talks and articles, that measuring activity within the deeper recesses of the brain is not yet possible, and therefore may still exist in a subject. He also believes that children have a higher rate of recoverability from brain injuries. Their brains are more “pliable” and can heal in ways that often surprise the experts. The observation of reactions (movement of arms or legs) like those reported to be seen in Jahi, lends credence to the possibility that, though there are no measurable brain waves, brain activity may still exist and life may still be present. Thus seems to be the conviction of the family of Jahi McMath.

As I write this so much is changing, and by the time you read this so much may have occurred in the life of Jahi and her family. But I still ask you this: Pray for Jahi and for this family. Pray also that authentic moral principles will be upheld in the midst of a scientific endeavor which is always complicated, but which requires many, many prudential decisions. We must work hard and speak out clearly for the protection of human life at all its moments.

Mary, Mother of God, and our Mother, pray for us.

 

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  • Skimo1

    With all due respect, you are completely ignorant of the facts in this case as revealed right in your first paragraph. Jahi McMath did not undergo “routine tonsil surgery,” what she underwent was three different and very serious surgical procedures to correct her sleep apnea: an adenotonsillectomy, removal of the tonsils and adenoids; a uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP), removal of the uvula; and a submucous resection of bilateral inferior turbinates. Dr. Byrne is a complete quack and outside any norms of medical thinking. Sadly, Jahi McMath passed away a full month ago and is not coming back from the dead. Her body has already started to decompose, as revealed in the document from Dr. Heidi Flori filed with the court last Friday. Read the document yourself, it’s not very pretty. At this point Jahi McMath’s internal organs have started to collapse even with the support they were receiving in the PICU, to the point that her intestines have started to liquify and leak out of her anus. Anyone with any belief in God should want to see this poor girl given a respectful burial at this point, rather than being treated as some sideshow by her family and the horrible lawyer contributing to what is now a desecration of a corpse. A sad story about the death of a child has now become very disturbing. As a man of God, how would you react if the body of a deceased person was desecrated and mutilated and kept from reaching a respectful final resting place? I think you would be horrified, which is the reaction you should be having to the way this family and lawyer are treating the remains of poor Jahi.

    • Maggie Sullivan

      Skimo…….With all due respect, you are completely ignorant of the facts…..and YOU have never examined Jahi. What a sick and sad thing for you to declare this girl dead and attack the Bishop, and call Dr. Bryne a “quack.”

      You are so ignorant in this matter it is beyond belief…….you claim Jahi is dead…have you been in her hospital room? Have you examined personally her vital signs and reaction to the voices of her loved ones?

      NO…..you are basing ALL of your information on secular news reports….YOU ARE CONDEMNING A GIRL TO DEATH, MOCKING A GREAT BISHOP, AND ATTACKING A WELL RESPECTED DOCTOR BASED TOTALLY AND ONLY ON SECULAR NEWS REPORTS.

      • Kathy English

        Not everyone respects this doctor. And if you don’t know about Finn now, you are just blind.

        • Maggie Sullivan

          I do know about Bishop Finn. He is a good and holy man, a true man of God. I believe he is a living saint.

          Of course we could all have your attitude….Bishop Finn made a mistake and repented….you will never forgive.

          We could have your attitude and hound all women who have ever had an abortion and never let them forget thy murdered a child.

          We could with your attitude, mock homosexuals for the sickening crime of sodomy and even if they repent of the horrific crime of sodomy call them perverts and never forgive.

          We could forever tell people who used contraception that they are going to hell even when they repent and admit their mistakes.

          No…………..I don’t want to be a person that never forgives. Bishop Finn repented of a mistake…God has forgiven….you have not…I’ll take Bishop Finn any and every day over your attitude of hate and condemnation.

          • kidscientist

            In the Catholic church, there is no such thing as a living saint.

          • Maggie Sullivan

            THE EPISTLE OF ST. PAUL TO THE COLOSSIANS

            CHAPTER 1

            Greeting
            1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus our brother,
            2 to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colossae:
            Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

          • kidscientist

            I repeat, in the Catholic Church, there is no such thing as a living saint.

          • Maggie Sullivan

            Your wrong….St. Paul clearly describes his fellow Christians who are in the state of graces as saints.
            Saint means holy…and when a person is holy they are a living saint.
            Their are no living canonized saints but St. Paul clearly calls he fellow Christians saints

          • Joy Park

            Maggie, you may want to read up on what the Catholic Church refers to as saints. Being a Catholic myself, I know there are no living saints, priests or otherwise.

            http://catholicism.about.com/od/thesaints/f/What_Is_A_Saint.htm

          • Joy Park
          • Catholic Scientist

            Once again, thank you for your Catholic witness, Maggie.

            You bring a little warmth and light to this darkened world.

          • Glynis

            actually, the real Catholic witness seems to be kidscientist. Maggie’s comments about death are in fact contrary to Catholic beliefs.

          • Kathy English

            I will never forget anyone whose actions resulted in a child’s life being ruined. It’s not for me to forgive, that is for his victims. But who is Finn to tell anyone what to do, he obviously does not know right from wrong.

          • Truthful

            Then surely you don’t forgive all the people who provided the equipment the abortionist use to perform abortions, all the people who perform abortions, all the people who get abortions, all the people who advise the people who are getting abortions to get them, all the people who work for the abortionist, all the people who are pro-abortion. Did I leave anyone out? As far as living saints, Mother Teresa correctly said, saints are not made in heaven. I believe what you are referring to is “declared saints”. Yes, there are living saints. I pray that you meet many before you die. I hope they have a large influence on your faith life. Also, it is interesting how all of you attempt to disparage Maggie Sullivan and her faith. You call her names. You say cruel things about her faith. Shame on all of you. If you can’t say something nice………Use your words for good, not for hate.

          • Joy Park

            no, there are no living Saints.

          • Kathy English

            Do you care about the living children that these men have hurt? Or only about fertilized eggs? Finn is a disgrace, and people like you allow him to get away with it.

          • carroll

            Why is sodomy a horrific crime? I thought it was legal now. Even in Texas. I like a little back door action myself from time to time. I don’t think God really cares.

            Isn’t using the pill better than having an abortion or having unwanted children that you can’t afford to feed clothe and shelter? And what about taking the pill for health reasons? I need it for my polycystic ovarian syndrome. ( and also I don’t want to get preggers at 54) Am I going to hell?

            I don’t think any of the above is as bad as failing to report a pedophile the nanosecond you knew about it. But hey. You can do anything as long as your confess on your deathbed all is absolved right?

        • Get Smart

          Maggie has obviously drank the cool-aid too long.

      • George Stock

        Hi Maggie. It’s Byrne, not Bryne. Yes, we base our opinions on secular news reports, such as Dr. Paul Fisher’s exam documenting brain death, and Dr. Heidi Flori’s exam documenting the stages of tissue dissolution following brain death. You, on the other hand, have nothing. Oh, and you’re also Mickey Sullivan, right?

        • Maggie Sullivan

          http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/ny-woman-declared-brain-dead-woke-up-moments-before-organs-harvested
          I’m sure you would have condemned this person to death as well…..

          • Glynis

            no matter how many times you post this link, this persons case is not in any way shape of form remotely similar to Jahi’s case.

          • Maggie Sullivan

            You are rith….this person they had ON THE OPERATING TABLE READY TO SLICE AND DICE……..Jahi’s family prevented that from happening!

          • Glynis

            no dear, that’s not it. The woman’s case is not at all similar in any respect to Jahi’s case. If you think it is then that just shows how uninformed your are about any of the facts.

          • Catholic Scientist

            Thank you for bringing a little sanity to this discussion, Maggie. I’m sure the organ transplant teams were already notified and ready to remove Jahi’s organs, too.

            Also, Zack Dunlap from Oklahoma and Steven Thorpe from the UK were diagnosed brain dead on the same criteria as Jahi – lack of cerebral blood flow, flat EEG. Interestingly enough, they both recovered and they both walked out on their own feet from the hospitals. But only because Zack’s cousin, and Steven’s dad, stepped in to save them from being dissected alive by organ transplant teams.

          • childofkarma

            Steven Thorpe was never at risk for being “cut open”. He was in a medically induced coma after a car accident. The hospital didn’t think his chances were good and the family insisted on a second opinion calling on a doctor they knew. That doctor detected faint brainwaves and insisted the hospital stop coma induction in order to do an uninhibited evaluation. He was never diagnosed brain dead and woke up two weeks later. Any person who ignores documented facts in order ttomake dramatic lies to further their personal agenda is a sad excuse for a scientist

          • Glynis

            I wonder if this person is Dr. Byrne himself? Just a gut feeling on my part. The family has made no comment at all about organ transplant yet this is what this person focuses on. Curious.

          • Glynis

            Nope, you are wrong about both. And you do know of course that there is no organ transplant without the consent of the family so I highly doubt they were ready to remove any organs at all. And the family has made no comment at all about organ transplant so it puzzles me that you would even bring it up. perhaps you have an agenda?

          • Gramo4

            At this point in time there are no viable organs to transplant. This child has been dead for over a month and is decomposing right in front of her family.

      • kidscientist

        I’m not basing my opinion on secular or religious news, I’m basing it on reading what court documents are available on line, which have details on the medical tests and what all was going on at the time. I also base it on decades as a medical scientist and knowing at the very least, the basics of how the human body works, and how it needs a brain to be alive, and how a brain that has no blood flowing to it can not be alive. No one is condemning her to death, but I’m curious why you consider death a condemnation. My Catholic faith taught me that it was but a mere end to the corporal body and the first step to the most glorious thing possible, a reunion with our heavenly Father.

        I’m not mocking His Excellency, though I am disappointed that he didn’t do any research to form his opinion and that he is conveying things that are actually counter to Catholic doctrine. As to the doctor, the most I will say is that because you find him to be ‘well respected’ (and yes, that I will put in quotes), doesn’t mean that the majority of the medical community feels the same.

        • Glynis

          very well said. As to your point about why she considers death a condemnation, I have been thinking exactly the same thing. I am not a Catholic but I was also taught that death is not the end but the beginning of a new more glorious life with our heavenly Father. It is just so surprising to see so many who are claiming to be Christians denying this basic Christian teaching. It seems to me that all those people on the FB page are going against God’s teaching by praying for what they want instead of praying for God’s guidance and strength to accept his will. I have a hard time believing that God would want us to keep a body going indefinitely just because we have the medical knowledge and technology to do so.

        • Maggie Sullivan

          A society and people that believes in nothing can offer no argument even against death. A culture that has lost its faith in life cannot comprehend why it should be endured.
          As far as medical records you do realize that because of privacy issues not all medical information is public.

          When people condemn a girl to death they have never met……that’s all we need to know about our society’s respect for life.
          I do like your line about you base your opinion on court documents……what would you think of a person who biased their opinion on the Dred Scott decision……..
          You do know we have HUNDREDS of case of people waking up and living good lives after they have been declared “brain dead.”
          Interesting to note that a person convicted of murder get many appeals before the death penalty is imposed….with Jahi some people want her dean NOW so they won’t have to think about people who are in need.

          • kidscientist

            I notice you never addressed why you consider the moment when we get to be united with our heavenly Father is a condemnation.
            And never once has anyone that was truly brain dead, awakened. Never once, in the history of life. NO A SINGLE PERSON. This poor child’s brain has had no blood flow for nearly a month.

            I like how you base your opinion on absolutely nothing.

          • MyCatRocks

            Maggie IS brain dead as well … Just like dealing with a zombie.

          • Maggie Sullivan

            One Divine person has resurrected from the dead………..the number of people who have been declared dead been and resuscitated, woke-up, been revived are to many to count..

            Jahi is a person to be loved and her family…not you, not the doctors who harmed her, not the liberal media, not the culture of death are the ones who should make the medical decisions for Jahi.

      • Skimo1

        1. Jahi McMath has been dead for a month, nobody is condemning her to death and I’m not the one making that determination. She already died quite some time ago, which is a fact established by the 5 specialists who examined her and declared her to be dead (including three outside specialists brought in by the court at the request of the family), the courts which have declared her to be dead, and the coroner who has declared her dead and issued a death certificate dated December 12th. This is fact, both medically and legally, not opinion.
        2. Robert W. Finn is not a great Bishop, he is notable as the first Bishop to be convicted for failure to report a priest suspected of child abuse. He is an enabler for pedophile’s and child pornographers, and as a lifelong Catholic I am shocked and ashamed that people like Bishop Finn are still part of the church.
        3. Dr. Byrne is far from a well-respected doctor, he is considered a quack by the mainstream medical establishment and his beliefs regarding brain death are completely outside the norm of accepted medical practice.

        • Maggie Sullivan

          Kkio…as a long time Catholic i am shamed but nt schocked that a person like your self is so pro-death.

          Please explain how Bishop finn enabled a child to be molested………

          • Kathy English
          • Kathy English

            It won’t do any good, as like all “good” Catholics you believe what you are told to believe rather than facts. But I added a couple of links for you.Finn is the first bishop to be convicted for this crime, enabling child pornography. Why not investigate for yourself, just google Bishop Finn conviction, or bishop finn pornography. Use your imagination, if you have one. Learn for yourself, don’t just repeat the church’s line on this matter. You might learn something.

          • Joy Park

            In May 2011, Finn apologized for his failure to act in a more timely
            manner in the case of a priest accused of engaging in inappropriate
            behavior with children. Finn told reporters that he failed to read a
            letter sent to the diocese a year earlier (May 2010) by a Catholic
            elementary school principal who was reporting numerous instances of
            inappropriate behavior. Finn’s admission came five months after the
            diocese discovered questionable pictures of children on Ratigan’s
            computer, and a week after the priest was arrested on child pornography
            charges.

            the diocese was made aware of the images on Ratigan’s computer on
            December 16, 2010. However, rather than report it, Finn ordered him to
            undergo psychiatric evaluation and then sent him to a convent under
            orders to have no contact with children. Church officials reported
            Ratigan’s actions on May 11, 2011 after learning that he had was still
            taking lewd pictures of children. Ratigan pleaded guilty to five counts
            of producing child pornography and was sentenced to 50 years in federal
            prison. All charges against the Diocese itself were dropped, Finn
            however was convicted on one charge in September 2012 and sentenced to
            two years of probation.

        • Camille Giglio

          Skimo: A careful reading of Dr. Flori’s account would show that she was speaking in general terms about a person dying from dehydration and starvation, not about Jahi in particular. Brain dead is a utilitarian ethic based legal term used to justify organ transplantation from a still living but comatose patient to another, thereby killing the comatose patient.

          • Skimo1

            You may want to carefully read Dr. Heidi Flori’s report again. In section 7, which starts towards the bottom of page 2, she clearly reports on the deterioration of Jahi’s body in particular and is not talking in general terms about the results of brain death. Right in that section, the first thing she reports on is the lack of any bowel movement over a period of weeks, other than on January 2nd when “she passed some stool which was clinically consistent with defecation of the tissues lining the bowel (i.e., her body is sloughing her gut).” In other words, Jahi’s intestines are decomposing and she’s passing them through her bowels. That’s a direct quote from the report, and the report goes on to mention other signs of deterioration already occurring to Jahi’s body as of two weeks ago. The report is a mixture of information on the deterioration already happening in Jahi’s body, along with information on what further deterioration is expected as time goes on.

            Jahi McMath is not comatose, she is dead. Brain dead = dead, legally and medically.

      • DanielEPhillips

        http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/1072/1072_01.asp The facts not what you been told Who loves you most in this world ?

      • Christina

        And you are basing yours on religious reports. I’m betting you’ve never examined Jahi either. But an article that’s written by a Bishop and quotes a quack doctor like Byrne is your gospel? She was examined by doctors–at least one of which was commissioned by Nailah Winkfield herself. ALL of them came to the same conclusion: Jahi is dead. There is no degree of death. There is just death. And Jahi is dead.

        The only people that condemned Jahi to death were her family, before and after her surgery. Although her death ultimately took place at CHO, I haven’t heard anything that marks CHO as culpable; so far, all blame lies squarely on the shoulders of her very sad family.

    • Crannus Berrius

      If she’s “dead” then they need to bury her now.. while her heart is still beating. Obviously (or not so) this is an absolutely absurd notion. “Dead” while yet alive… how the Godless fall into an ever darkening world of lunacy.

      God save us from ourselves!

      • Gramo4

        Please don’t be so obtuse. Her heart beats because she is on a ventilator. When the vent is, and has been, removed her heart stops beating…it’s the machine that is keeping her heart beating.

        • Linda

          Wrong. All the ventilator does is provide air to the lungs. Respiration is the sum total of all the processes by which the oxygen and carbon-dioxide exchange takes place in cells and tissues. Yes, the heart will stop after the body has gone through a sufficiently long deprivation of oxygen, whether that deprivation takes place because a perfectly healthy person has been locked in an airtight room, drowned, strangled, or taken off a ventilator.

          • Helwilliams

            No consideration at all for the fact that the Reason she cannot respirate on her own is that she is dead I see. Just another person with no medical knowledge but a keyboard and google.

      • Fiona

        ha ha..no save us from people like you that will bend the bible/church’s teachings to fit your own agenda. i found this article while looking for articles on getting the winkfields’ to stop this horrible mess,i’m hoping every day that the police can force an end to this.

    • Fiona

      REALLY?? you call a man like this ignorant?. if he were all for keeping the corpse of this girl animated then would you still call him ignorant?. so what if he called the operation ‘routine’.at the time this was written ‘routine’ was what the family were calling the operation. this has gone on far to long,the reason there is not another case like this is because until the winkfields a.k.a. ‘money-hungry ghouls’ no other family would even think to beg for money to keep a corpse’s heart/lungs working. the body will never be truly alive again. and if that body ever does get up of it’s own volition then a DEMON will be what the family and supporters will have to thank.

    • Hyacinth

      oops, Jahi is still alive.. guess you were wrong skimo

      • you asked

        Jahi isn’t alive – she’s just being kept on a ventilator in her mother’s apartment. So you are the one that is wrong. As of yesterday, her father is texting people saying she has 2 days to “live” & that she has “an infection in her lungs, along with all the other medical problems”. No mention of what the “other problems” are, but based on her necrotic toes, fingers & facial tissue, I’d guess it is a decomposing corpse.

  • Kevin Woods

    she is DEAD!

  • Pingback: Consumer group's fundraising appeal citing Jahi McMath stirs anger – Los Angeles Times | Fox Global News

  • Ward Wesley

    You are no more than blind”follower”. The girl is dead. Take away the vent and if the corpse breaths on its own, I’ll eat my words.

  • Sherry Smith

    Jesus Christ is the only one who can restore Jahi McMath to life, as it will require a full-blown resurrection. Since that seldom occurs, it is safe to assume she is dead, and being such she requires and deserves the dignity of funeral services to respectfully inter her body.

  • KMM7177

    Father Finn…here are your words: “Let us go back, for a moment, to the issue of the determination of death. The brain death criteria were developed primarily because of the desire to transplant non-paired vital organs (e.g. heart, liver) to save other lives: the lives of persons needing such donations to survive. The needed organs for transplant must still be “alive;” they cannot start to decay or they no longer will be useful.” Whether or not organs are needed for donation, when they begin to decay, the body is deceased. The criteria for ‘legal death’ in your research corresponds with the criteria for ‘natural death’.

    • kidscientist

      In addition, His Excellency is parroting what many ill-informed people continue to say, all of whom if asked for a reference would probably only have comment sections of poorly researched media reports. I wish people, even His Grace here, would actually do some thorough research before going out in the public with misinformation. Even opinion pieces should not state false information.

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2652772/?report=classic

      • Glynis

        It appears he only read what Dr. Byrne recommended. And I wouldn’t be surprised if it mainly consisted of his very own writings on the subject.

  • William F. Hagen

    None of this effort to maintain the body is necessary. If God wants to bring her back to life, He could do so any time He chooses, even after decomposing while in the tomb, as He did with Lazarus. Just put her to rest, as was done with Lazarus, and if God wants to perform a miracle and restore her, he will, whatever state she is in.

    • Maggie Sullivan

      Hi Bill……you may be right, she may be dead or near death….but you can’t “put her to rest” in the hospital where the doctors and nurses have treated Jahi and her family with vicious disreguard and are so inept they destroyed this girls health.

      At least Jahi is now sourrounded by real medical professionals.

      And by the way I’m sure you would have condemned this woman to death as well…..but surprise…surprise…… http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/ny-woman-declared-brain-dead-woke-up-moments-before-organs-harvested

      • Glynis

        you have no idea how Jahi and her family were treated because you were not there. You only have what the family has said. The same family who has denied the hospital their request to provide information.

        And the case of the woman in the link you keep posting is not similar in any respect to Jahi’s case.

        • Gramo4

          Fortunately Jahi was not the only patient in ICU at the time and the families of the other patients witnessed the way the family was treated. I’m certain they will be able to testify that everything that could be done for them was done.

  • Carmena Hilliard

    Bishop Finn, the child is dead. You do a disservice to many who depend on doctors who I believe most are given their vocation by God. They have the expertise and training and tools available to determine brain death. No one has ever recovered from brain death. NO ONE. You and others in the church hierarchy are the reason I will never set foot in a Catholic Church again. You make me sick. I am a right-to-life person and always will be but this is an abomination. All the praises people are singing while listening to a lawyer who is clearly led by the devil himself with his total lies about what is happening…do you notice know one can check or verify what he is saying…that you are directly responsible Bishop for leading children of Christ to a false god. The family is centered around selfishness, lies and greed. I can’t speak for God but I believe His intervention ended when He took Jahi to heaven. What is going on…I don’t believe God has a hand in it.

    • Ward Wesley

      Could not have said it better….

    • Kathy English

      Of course, this is not the first disservice he has done for children. At least he and his priests are not taking naked pictures of Jahi, as far as I know.

    • Maggie Sullivan

      Carmena…….you are a fool. You say a child is dead that you have never met.

      It is people like you who believe every word of the media and condemn children in the womb and people with brain injuries to death because you lack the love to care for them.

      • Glynis

        Not the word of the media, the word of the doctor’s who treated her and those who examined her who submitted affidavits to the court.

        • Maggie Sullivan

          Luv it Glynis…..the doctors who put her in a coma now what her dead and gone so they don’t have to pay the bill for helping her.
          In the end Jahi…..yes….Jahi is her name….I notice all of you who want her dead call Jahi “the girl…her”…you can’t stand to say her name.
          In the end….if she does pass away at least she will pass away surrounded by people who love her and not in the hospital that butchered her and wants her dead.

          • kidscientist

            Not a single word of fact in there, Other than her name. I have no problem saying her name. Jahi, may she finally be allowed to rest in peace.

          • Glynis

            except for the other doctors that were brought in to do the examinations including the independent one brought in by the court that the family said they would abide by then changed their mind. She is not in a coma, she is brain dead. There is a difference. Unfortunately there are many people like you who do not understand that.. And you have absolutely no knowledge as to what the hospital did or didn’t do. All you know is what the family has said and why have they refused to allow the hospital to provide any information? And btw, the doctor’s and the hospital don’t pay any bills, insurance does.

      • Carmena Hilliard

        Maggie, you haven’t met the child either. I am inclined to believe neuro experts who evaluated Jahi and determined she is dead. I certainly am not going to believe a sleazy lawyer like Dolan who has medical background at all. You obviously didn’t read the court documents filed by the hospital in response to Dolan’s ridiculousness.

        • Maggie Sullivan

          You mean the documents filed by the hospital that according to your thinking killed Jahi………..

          • Glynis

            At this point, nobody knows why Jahi died. Speculations and claims of what the hospital did or what the family did should not be considered credible.

    • Maggie Sullivan
    • Truthful

      When did doctors become gods? Have we put that much faith in them. I have been diagnosed wrongly by several doctors. Their wrong diagnoses almost caused my death. Yes, we rely on doctors. It also was a doctor who saved my life after being wrongly diagnosed. This happened more than once. So, all you practicing doctors who hold degrees and all of you who don’t but think you know so much, beware lest you become idols worshiping yourselves and not the one true God.

    • Hyacinth

      guess you were wrong

  • Catholic Scientist

    You know something is very wrong with “brain death” when you see a “formerly brain dead” patient, Zack Dunlap from Oklahoma, telling his story on television. Google Zack Dunlap for more – he was diagnosed “brain dead” by neurological criteria including PET scan and EEG, just like Jahi McMath. The organ transplant team was set to remove Zack’s organs, but his cousin who was a nurse stepped in and saved him from being dissected alive.

    Also I’m a bit irked that “brain dead” Jahi is moving her body when her family members are talking to her. I recently lost family members to real death (not “brain death”) and they would not move their bodies when we were talking in the presence of their cadavers at the wake.

    Quote from His Excellency Bishop Finn’s article: “But sometimes things are not as they seem, and Dr. Byrne, who went to Oakland a few days after Christmas, doesn’t believe Jahi is dead. What moved me most was something I had not yet read in any media accounts: He told me that Jahi was not totally unresponsive – but rather, when touched or talked to by family members, she moves her arms and/or legs. I must say that this is not what I imagined in the case of someone who is dead.”

    Let anyone call me brain dead if they want to, but I don’t buy the line that Jahi is dead.

    • Glynis

      google Lazarus reflex.

      • Maggie Sullivan

        Google “people who leave hospital after being declared brain dead”

        • Glynis

          Nobody has left the hospital after being declared brain dead. Apparently you refuse to even acknowledge a difference in coma, persistent vegetative state, and brain death.

          • TerrieT

            Goggle “Colleen Burns”

          • Glynis

            Maggie Sullivan has already posted that link numerous times. An entirely different case without any similarity at all to Jahi.

    • childofkarma

      So far there is no evidence of any of the families claims. They keep stating they have video but as of yet have not released it, and never presented it to court to try and back their claims. They claim they tried to show it to the hospital personnel but why would they need to show video to them? They at the time had full access to Jahi and didn’t need a video for proof. They could have stood there personally and watched if it was happening. As the old internet saying goes, Pics/Video or it didn’t happen

      • Glynis

        you would think that they would be anxious to release pics / video proving how wrong the CHO doctors were. All of their claims about her status since she left CHO are nothing more than hearsay.

      • Kathy English

        I agree, much as this family loves attention, they would have released videos if they had them.

    • NonaM

      After 4 weeks, they could shake her head and hear liquid sloshing around inside. Would that convince you?

      • Catholic Scientist

        I conclude that Jahi is an alive person with liquid sloshing around inside her head, who is *also* reacting to the voice and touch of her grandmother with a squirming motion. That’s what Dr. Byrne says in court deposition, and either Dr. Byrne is an out-and-out liar, or Jahi is alive and she is reacting to the voice and touch of her grandmother by squirming her body. Until I receive proof that Dr. Byrne, Professor of Pediatrics and former president of Catholic Medical Association, lied in his court deposition, I am going to assume that Dr. Byrne is an honorable man, that he told the truth, and Jahi is still alive.

        • Glynis

          If you want to put it that way then I’d say that Dr. Byrne is an out and out liar. He also admits he didn’t examine her. I wouldn’t believe any doctor about anything who didn’t do an examination. You think that 6 other physicians wouldn’t have noticed her reacting if she in fact did?

        • NonaM

          Without first hand empirical evidence, I would conclude that you are not really a scientist.

        • KMM7177

          Do some research on spinal reflexes.

        • Kathy English

          I’m going with Byrne being an out and out liar, and Finn being a convicted felon and child sexual abuse enabler.

        • Ronald More

          I’ll take liar for 200, CS

  • Jeremy L

    Show me a neurologist, anyone other than this Dr. Byrne(who is roundly acknowledge as not following medical principle), that believe this girl is alive. The need for a declaration of death has risen not just due to organ donations, but due to increasingly sophisticated technology that can keep even a dead body “alive” for weeks by keeping the blood oxygenated and pumping.

    • DarisDawn

      Good point! Dr Paul A. Byrne is not even a Neurologist! He is a Neonatologist, a doctor dealing with diagnosis and treatment of newborns.

    • TerrieT

      Show me anyone posting their OPINIONS here who is a medical Dr or has seen Jahi since her surgery. Until then, this MD’s opinion is valid to me. Death by neurological decree is controversial, you might try reading both sides of the argument.

      • Glynis

        there were at least 6 of them. I doubt you can even comprehend the arguments since you can’t comprehend that Colleen Burn’s case is not at all similar to Jahi’s.

  • childofkarma

    Forgive me father, but it saddens me to see that you as a man of spiritual healing and not medical healing have been talked into playing devils advocate, and coerced into parroting whatever talking points Dr. Bryne has fed you instead of the full story, and thereby seeming to give religious backing to his personal agenda. For one thing there is far more required then simply a check for electrical activity in the brain to rule out cases like the ones you mention, where there is very minimal of hard to detect activity. Three other tests include: Cerebral Angiography, Transcranial Doppler Ultrasonography, and/or Cerebral Perfusion Scintigraphy, all of which are done to ascertain if there is blood flow to the brain, and what parts if any are affected by damaged circulation. A brain without ANY blood flow is a brain without oxygen, and a brain without oxygen is not living or able to recover. Jahi has had the circulation to her brain studied and imaged by multiple doctors on multiple occasions while she was in CHO, and the scans all clearly show a lack of any blood flow to any part of her brain, including the stem. Even if there can be doubt cast on an EEG, there is no question when viewing the dark and blank images of a dead brain with no blood flow. Jahi IS sadly deceased. Did Dr. Byrne mention anything about the lack of bloodflow? Or did he only focus on the questionable errors of weak or undetectable electrical activity in the brain?

    It also saddens me to hear your lack of any concern for her spiritual body. A Jewish blogger wrote a very poignant article focusing not on debate over her physical form, but more on the question of “Where is Jahi?” as in her spirit. It’s a very good question, more along the lines of your expertise then that of the medical quandary, and one that I feel you should have stuck to instead of stepping foot into the medical debate. In her question the blogger looks at it from the perspective of the Jewish faith, pointing out their belief that the soul lingers after death, remaining nearby it’s mortal form until it’s been properly put to rest. This is why they hold such strict beliefs about handling and preparing the corpse, including never leaving it alone, apologizing for any offense that might have been made during preparations, and reading psalms while watching over it. It’s not done to please God, but to comfort the watching spirit. What must Jahi’s spirit think of all this, Father? Watching her families grief, hearing their pleas for her to return when she can’t? Will her spirit ever be able to find it’s peace knowing the heartbreak that she is causing them by her inability to fullfil their wishes, and their inability to let her go? Respectfully, Father, why don’t you focus on the spiritual questions surrounding this tragedy, instead of wrestling with issues beyond YOUR expertise.

    • Maggie Sullivan

      It saddens me to see your blood lust in wanting Jahi dead…………….

      http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/ny-woman-declared-brain-dead-woke-up-moments-before-organs-harvested

      • Glynis

        There is nothing in that report that is remotely similar to Jahi’s case.

      • kidscientist

        Nobody here, not a single person, WANTS her dead. But many of us have at least a basic understanding of human anatomy and physiology, and of the undisputed facts. No court documents ever refute the numerous medical tests that have been conducted. The family’s attorney has not provided the court with any medical tests to the contrary. And that basic understanding says that a person who has spent nearly a month with no blood flow to their brain, is deceased. Therefore logic and science say that Jahi is deceased.

        Some of us also seem to both understand the basic tenants of Christianity (that being with our maker is the ultimate goal of our mortal lives) or we understand the definition of ‘condemnation’.

        • Glynis

          I don’t understand at all why she keeps saying anybody who disputes what she says wants Jahi dead? Why would anybody want that? That’s just such a bizarre statement.

      • childofkarma

        I fail to see how my statements translate into bloodlust or a desire to see Jahi dead.

    • Gramo4

      Wonderfully stated with knowledge and compassion. Thank you.

  • Leah Edwards

    People keep referencing Zack Dunlap as an example of someone soming out if brain death. Zacks,and a couple of other instances are repeatedly held up as a justification for keeping this poir childs dead body hooked up on a ventilator. If you read those cases carefully,you will notice that they all came out of their supposed “brain dead ” states within 48 hours. This child has had no blood flow to her brain for a month now. Come on people! Really?! There is nothing wrong with calling someone dead when they are. It’s quite normal. The farce that is unfolding in the media is NOT normal, and is actually growing so absurd it is an insult to the collective intelligence to the American public, and a stain on,the memory of a precious little girl who has tragically passed away. If you read the deposition of Dr. Heidi Flor,a pediatrician who examined Jahi before she left CHO, the childs body was already showing marked evidence of decomposition. Now she’s improving? From death and decay?

  • Heather Nordquist

    Brain death does not belong in quotes. Jahi is dead and the only thing keeping her warm is a pile of blankets. You are insane to suggest anything different.

    • Maggie Sullivan

      http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/ny-woman-declared-brain-dead-woke-up-moments-before-organs-harvested
      Well………………………….heartless people like you said the same thing here.

      • Glynis

        Not the same.

      • Ward Wesley

        Maggie, go crawl back into your hole, you troll.. Your Bishop is nothing more than a nut case like Dr. Byrne.

        • Kathy English

          Worse, probably. I don’t think Byrne has been convicted of anything, at least not yet.

      • Heather Nordquist

        Answer this, then. Why the heck does God need a ventilator to make a miracle happen?

        • Maggie Sullivan

          God has always used the things of this earth for human life.

          • Heather Nordquist

            That is outrageous. The all-powerful and omnipotent God needing a feeding tube and a ventilator. Now, you really are grasping at straws. This young lady has died. God would wish her to be respectfully buried and join him.

          • Maggie Sullivan

            You have no clue if Jahi is alive or not….you have never seen her, never met her, and you have no idea who she is.

            He family, those closest to her, they will determine what is best for Jahi.
            Not you or the doctors who harmed her……thank God Jahi is now in a nursing how run by people who respect God and all human life.

            God is accomplishing everything He wants in this situation…..those who love are coming together in defense and love for Jahi.

            Those who are the culture of death are shouting for Jahi’s death……and will sow in their hearts and souls what they are trying to do to Jahi.

          • Heather Nordquist

            I don’t wish death for her. I trust science. She is not a living being, she is now a shell. If God wanted her alive and woken up, it would be done. I respect life, and if this little girl were alive, I’d be cheering her on. What her family is currently doing is molesting a dead body.

        • Maggie Sullivan

          Why does God use food and air to keep us alive………

          Why does God use light for us to see………

          Why doesn’t god just do away with food, air, light to prove to us he is god and can keep us alive?

          Because God does not dance to your or my tune…because God is God and does not have to prove anything to us….because God will not be tempted…

          But the main reason is…….

          God allows us to grow in faith, hope, and love by living our lives with the mysteries and challenges of the beautiful world he has given us and when we trust God even with the difficulties of life we remake our broken natures into a person who can truly see what love, life, God and heaven are.

    • TerrieT

      None of us know exactly what is going on, only what we have read, unless you are a family member or someone who has seen Jahi since her surgery, in that case, please share. All of this is people’s OPINIONS. If there is ANY doubt, give her the benefit of it, if it so pleases the family. It’s not OUR decision, or our problem.

  • Skittles

    I don’t understand how religious people deny that sometimes the will of God might just be for some people to die. I’m not Catholic, but shouldn’t they be okay with God’s will, instead of hooking her up to man-made machines?

    • kidscientist

      I am a Catholic and yes, we are OK with God’s will, and our church also fully accepts brain death as being death (no quotes) and fully supports removing a dead body from all machinery that is mechanically keeping any organs functioning.

  • Catholic Scientist

    I trust Dr. Paul Byrne, former president of the Catholic Medical Association and Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, that he can tell apart the reflexes of a living person from the Lazarus reflex. Dr. Byrne says in court documents that he visited Jahi’s bedside and observed her responding to her grandmother’s voice and touch with a squirming movement. That’s another indication that Jahi’s brain is still functioning. Calling her “brain dead”, while her brain is demonstrably alive and working, seems more like a gimmick, similar to how unborn babies and slaves have been called “non-persons”.

    Also, the simple fact the her body is warm indicates that her hypothalamus is working and setting the body temperature. The hypothalamus is part of the brain and it’s working.

    Jahi is just one more person misdiagnosed as “dead” while she is alive.

    Here’s a partial list of other misdiagnosed persons, “formerly dead”:

    -Zack Dunlap, from Oklahoma, “formerly dead”, minutes away from being dissected alive by an organ transplant team.

    -Karen Arbogast, from the Seattle Tri-Cities area, “formerly dead”.

    -Caroline Burns (some reports call her Colleen Burns), Syracuse, NY, “formerly dead”. She woke up on the operating table when the transplant team was about to harvest her organs.

    -Carina Melchior, Aarhus, Denmark, “formerly dead”. “Those bandits in the white coats gave up too quickly, because they wanted an organ donor,” said the Danish girl’s father.

    -Steven Thorpe, UK, “formerly dead”.

    “Brain death” is a gimmick invented to boost organ transplants, and the proponents of “brain death” or “death by neurological criteria” failed to prove that they can reliably tell apart a living person from a dead one. So, I’ll stick with the old-fashioned definition of death: cold, blue, stiff, and decomposing. And I am now a… “former organ donor”.

    • NonaM

      The problem with Dr. Byrne is that he had determined that Jahi McMath was not dead prior to even seeing her. As for the author of this comment I understand the you would rather “live” being brain dead or in a persistently vegetative state–good luck with that.

      • Catholic Scientist

        As a scientist I want to see the Truth first and foremost, “come hell or high water”. The Truth is that Jahi is still alive but perhaps she is going to have a poor quality of life with her brain injury. It could even be argued that subjecting her to additional surgeries for tracheostomy and feeding tube were “extraordinary” measures and Catholic bioethics teaches that there’s no moral obligation to resort to “extraordinary measures” to keep someone alive. However when it comes to the simple question of mislabeling a living person as “dead”, sorry, I’m going to take the rigid approach. It’s a lie to mislabel a person, who reacts to the voice and touch of her grandma by squirming her body, as “dead”. It’s not true, it’s a lie – someone who is reacting to voice and touch like that, is not dead.

        Also, “brain death” per the Harvard criteria is not the same as “full and irreversible cessation of all brain activity”. I don’t even need to see Jahi in person to conclude that her brain is still working. Since nobody disputes that her body is still warm, that means her hypothalamus is still working and setting her body temperature. When the hypothalamus will stop working, the person’s body will become cold. That hasn’t happened to Jahi so far, thus I conclude that her hypothalamus, part of her brain, is still working.

        • Glynis

          She is not able to maintain her body temperature on her own. Your conclusions are wrong. I highly doubt that 6 different physicians were wrong and Dr. Byrne was right.

        • NonaM

          Where is you scientific evidence for ” a person, who reacts to the voice and touch of her grandma by squirming her body, as “dead”.It is just wishful thinking until proven otherwise. This family has been coloring the truth at best nevermind that she is rotting from the inside out. http://media.nbcbayarea.com/documents/HeidiFlori.pdf

        • kidscientist

          This Catholic scientist (me) wishes you would stop putting brain death in quotes. And I in turn will not put “scientist” in quotes when referencing you.

    • Glynis

      since he didn’t actually examine her I doubt very much he could diagnose anything at all. And all the people that you name were not brain dead. As for her body being warm, the affidavit from the pediatric critical care physician actually caring for her in the hospital stated that her temp was maintained at 95 degrees F only with blankets. She is not able to regulate her body temp on her own which indicates no brain stem activity.. The affidavit also described, the decomposition they were already seeing prior to leaving the hospital. And a picture of her hand from 12/31 that was posted by her sister on her twitter account showed clearly the skin sloughing and grey appearance of her finger tips in contrast to the picture of her hand that was posted on her mother’s twitter account from days earlier which does indicate decomposition as well. Brain death does reliably tell a living person from a dead one. There are misdiagnoses when it comes to coma and persistent vegetative states. It’s unfortunate that people use the terms coma, persistent vegetative state and brain dead interchangeably because all three are very different.

    • Maggie Sullivan

      I’m still waiting for the pro-death crowd to disprove these cases you listed of people being declared dead who are living good lives.

      I have a feeling I’ll be waiting a loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong time.

      • Glynis

        These people were not considered brain dead.

        • kidscientist

          The basic concepts of science (and maybe even English) are lost on these two. Yet you and I keep trying. :)

          • Glynis

            well, not for them because it seems clear to me they won’t accept anything contrary to their own belief but for the people who don’t comment that read them whose minds are open.

        • TerrieT

          Caroline Burns was declared brain dead and Drs were preparing to harvest her organs when she opened her eyes. There are others…

  • thebuglady

    Father, I am heart-broken as I read this column. How could you, a man of god, lead others against the churches acceptance of brain death? Dr. Byrne admitted in court that he NEVER examined the body, since he wasn’t licensed to do so. However, the six different doctors who did (2 from the hospital, 3 that the family brought in, and the 1 that the court brought in agreed that she was dead.) The doctor from the hospital in court papers described on January 3rd the level of decomposition in this child’s body. The poor thing passed the lining of her intestines through her bowels. Do you think that this is normal of a living being? I am so disillusioned that you would say the Dr.Byrne was an “expert on brain death” when he is a well known and outspoken critic against it. I am praying that you only were ignorant of the facts, instead of willfully misleading your readers.

  • Catholic Scientist

    Quote from http://www.newser.com/story/179948/judge-to-hospital-keep-brain-dead-teen-alive.html

    ‘The girl’s family also said it has video of Jahi reacting to her mother’s voice and gave footage to the hospital’s attorney. “She’s moving her body,” her grandmother said.’

    Quote from http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=258709291

    ‘Dr. Paul Byrne, a pediatrician who has questioned the definition of brain death, says in court documents that he visited Jahi’s bedside and observed her responding to her grandmother’s voice and touch with a squirming movement.

    “In my opinion this signifies she is not dead,” Byrne said. “She should receive treatment as she is alive just like everyone else with severe head injury. … If she gets treatment, she will have a chance to recover brain function.”

    Byrne, who spent more than a decade as the director of neonatology at St. Charles Mercy Hospital in Ohio, said he has not conducted a full physical of Jahi because he is not licensed in California.’

    • Glynis

      and yet the hospital attorney never provided that video to the court or even to the media.

      if you looked at any of the videos of the Lazarus reflex you’d see that “response to touch”.

      The reason he didn’t examine her is irrelevant. Any doctor who is making a diagnosis without doing an examination is using questionable judgement.

      • childofkarma

        You mean Mr Dolan never provided that video to the court. It is the family’s evidence and their burden of proof to support their claims that she is not dead.

        • Glynis

          yes, you are right. I meant the family’s attorney. I will edit to say so.

        • Carmena Hilliard

          I disagree because the family are the ones who hired a lawyer and dragged the hospital into court over this one issue. So, it should be provided to the court to support the claim that she isn’t dead…that is what the lawyer fought for.

          • childofkarma

            That’s correct. The family hired Mr. Dolan. That is why it is his job to present evidence and find qualified experts to testify on their behalf. He is the one who never provided any video to the court showing the family’s claims of movement and responsiveness. If he didn’t provide it as evidence, then I doubt it exists because why would the judge after seeing their video that she was clearly responsive and aware not insist on her having treatment and instead saying the ventilator could be turned off?

    • childofkarma

      Director of neonatology at St. Charles Mercy Hospital in Ohio. So what in that title makes him an expert on brain injuries or diseases? Nothing. If he was the director of pediatric neurology that might give him some credence. But basically what you are asking us to do is accept the “observation” of a man who doesn’t even have the power nor the educational background/medical credentials to actually diagnose any kind of brain injury/disease as diagnostic truth. That makes as much sense as allowing a dentist to claim that an obese woman is pregnant just because her stomach sticks out. Dr. Brynes statements were never accepted by the court or considered credible because he is not a neurological expert and as you stated he never examined her because he has no liscense to practice in California.

  • Kathy English

    Are you even allowed near children, after your conviction for enabling child porn?

    • quidkat

      I hope you have the same zeal to fight this in the school arena. The legislature in California was only interested in prolong the statute of limitations only in the case of the Catholic Church but did not address the problem in the public schools. http://www.publicschoolreview.com/articles/285

      • Kathy English

        Public schools do not have a history of the same pattern, all over the world, of putting the abuser before the victim. I think we all know what Jesus would say about that.

        • quidkat

          Just a simple http://lmgtfy.com/?q=sex+offender+teacher+still+employed will show you examples that your assertion is not accurate. The Bishop was not guilty of child porn, he was guilty of not adequately performing his duty as a required reporter. He screwed up in judgment. He is not alone, though, it happens a lot in the world outside the Catholic Church. The priest that was involved in child porn reminds us that as Judas was at the Last Supper, so are their Judases today. I do not understand why you choose in this discussion to go after the Bishop who has owned up to his mistakes and trying to make it so that there is no repeat. Your facts about public schools is simply not true. In denying the fact about this, it makes attacks such as yours seem to be simply a convenient way to be hostile to Church. That being said, I would not want to pass that judgment. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/has-media-ignored-sex-abuse-in-school/

          • Kathy English

            I am definitely hostile to that in the church that puts priests, and the church’s reputation, above the well being of children. That side of the church is now being revealed, and many are tarnished by the truth coming out. Finn is not fit to tell anyone what is right or wrong, he showed his true colors. If he were truly repentant, he would have resigned. He puts himself and his ambition and pride first, children last. But that is common among these old celibates. Well, supposedly celibates.

          • Kathy English

            There are none so blind as those who will not see.

        • shatzi178

          Schools do not claim to be people of God!

  • MotherInTheVale

    Perhaps everyone here should read the work of Dr. Alan Shewmon, Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics at UCLA. He has a long history with “brain death.” In fact, he was once a proponent of such a diagnosis until he did exhaustive research on the subject. He would agree with Dr. Byrne in this instance. Also, the modern Catholic Church has done a huge disservice to the faithful by embracing the diagnosis of brain death as an acceptable theory. Having a functioning brain does not make one a person. Prior to VII, death was defined as the moment when a persons soul left the body. This could be determined only when the body had grown cold and rigor had set in. FWIW, Japan has recently passed a law which prohibits the use of the brain death diagnosis EXCEPT FOR ORGAN HARVESTING. In all other cases, death must be determined the old fashioned way.

    • Kathy English

      Well, that might make sense, except for the ventilator and IV drip supporting the breathing and heart beat, and keeping the body warm. If the child had been unplugged and was breathing, perhaps you’d have a point. This was not the case.

    • kidscientist

      Having a brain that is alive, does make one a LIVING person. A brain that has no blood flow going to it, is not alive.

    • Carmena Hilliard

      Due to the fact that Jahi is on a ventilator, if you shut off the machine, breathing and heart will stop and rigor will set in.

    • NonaM

      When the brain dies, a person has for all practical purposes been decapitated.

    • Catholic Scientist

      Great and well-informed post, MotherInTheVale. Actually I was planning to mention Dr. D. Alan Shewmon’s research, but you were faster. People need to learn about D. Alan Shewmon, E. Christian Brugger, Josef Seifert, Paul A. Byrne, David Albert Jones, and so on. Heck, even the infamous infanticide-promoting Peter Singer from Princeton is questioning the validity of “brain death” or “neurological criteria” as a means of ascertaining death.

      Here’s a quote from a book entitled Life, Life Support, and Death, co-authored by nine physicians, as food for thought:

      Not only are brain-related criteria flawed in scientific theory but also in application. In order to fulfill the current “brain death” criteria, the entire brain stem must not be functioning. In fact and in practice, however, often only some brain stem reflexes (response of pupil to light, response to ice-water in the ear, gag and swallowing reflexes, etc.) are evaluated. The apnea test (taking the patient off the ventilator) is done to evaluate the function of spontaneous breathing. Although there are other functions of the brain stem, including maintaining a normal body temperature, producing hormones via the hypothalamic-pituitary axis, neurogenic control of heart rate and maintenance of normal blood pressure, either these brain functions are not considered at all or they are said to be not applicable or not significant for determining death. Moreover, even though the “brain death” criteria of the Uniform Determination of Death Act (UDDA) calls for “…irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem,” it is and has been acceptable practice that at the time of “brain death” determination, some of the above functions are often present but not evaluated.

      See more at
      http://www.all.org/nav/index/heading/OQ/cat/MjA2/id/MjQ4Nw/

      http://catholiceducation.org/articles/medical_ethics/me0054.html

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23459179

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11588656

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19623822

      The above-quoted Dr. Truog later argued that we better drop the pretense of “brain death” since modern science no longer supports it as valid criteria for determination of death, and that we should just admit the truth that we are killing patients for their organs. Btw, Dr. Truog is no pro-life. In fact, he argues that it’s OK to kill patients for their organs, but at the same time he also maintains that while we are doing it, we better stop pretending that “brain death” or “death by neurological criteria” is a scientifically sound and valid principle.

      See also

      http://cet.sagepub.com/content/7/3/133.full

      http://www.cmq.org.uk/CMQ/2012/Aug/BrainDeath.html

      http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/transplants-from-murder-victims

      http://www.lifesitenews.com/mobile/news/no-moral-certainty-that-brain-death-is-really-death-prominent-catholic-ethi

      • Glynis

        the vast majority of the medical community does not agree. There are still people who believe the earth is flat. So are we to continue to debate whether it is or not?

        • Catholic Scientist

          Are you calling Dr. D Alan Shewmon, Professor at UCLA, whose ideas were addressed in a dedicated white paper by the Presidential Ethical Committee of the US President, a flat earther?

          Are you calling Professor Robert Truog, Department of Medical Ethics, Anesthesia, and Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, a flat earther?

          Are you calling Professor Peter Singer, formerly Department Head of Bioethics at Princeton University, and now President Obama’s presidential advisor, a flat earther?

          Not that I agree with Dr. Truog’s and Dr. Singer’s pro-death and pro-infanticide stances, but they both admit that the theory of “brain death” is flawed.

          Quote from Dr. Truog:

          Brain death – too flawed to endure, too ingrained to abandon.

          The concept of brain death has become deeply ingrained in our health care system. It serves as the justification for the removal of vital organs like the heart and liver from patients who still have circulation and respiration while these organs maintain viability. On close examination, however, the concept is seen as incoherent and counterintuitive to our understandings of death. In order to abandon the concept of brain death and yet retain our practices in organ transplantation, we need to either change the definition of death or no longer maintain a commitment to the dead donor rule, which is an implicit prohibition against removing vital organs from individuals before they are declared dead. After exploring these two options, the author argues that while new definitions of death are problematic, alternatives to the dead donor rule are both ethically justifiable and potentially palatable to the public. Even so, the author concludes that neither of these approaches is likely to be adopted and that resolution will most probably come when technological advances in immunology simply make the concept of brain death obsolete.

          See more at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17518853

          • Glynis

            No, I’m saying that the vast majority of the medical community don’t agree with them. It’s not hard to find people who disagree about medical science. So if some people disagree that means that we should stop what we are doing? We might as well go back to the times of the flat earthers in that case because scientific inquiry never has had 100% agreement on anything at all.

          • TerriT

            No, that means there is doubt. This is a child who (doubtfully) could be alive. If so, then pulling the plug will kill her. It will be a miracle if she survives after no nutrition, ect for such a long period, but her family believes in miracles. That’s their business…

          • Glynis

            You do realize that the IV’s she was getting in the hospital is in fact nutrition. If one says that it’s up to God while at the same time demanding mechanical interventions then they are not leaving it up to God. You clearly don’t understand if you think that 100% agreement is necessary in order to remove scientific doubt. Dr. Byrne says that there are supposedly some deeper electrical patterns that can’t be measured and that’s what he bases his opinion on. that’s not science, that’s faith. Science is the basis for medical interventions. If you want a miracle, then remove the mechanical interventions and ask God for a miracle. When you “pull a plug” as you put it, your are accepting God’s will.

          • dimensio

            He is saying that you are citing a single opinion, while ignoring that his opinion is contradicted by a substantial consensus. You would, therefore, appear to be “cherry picking” a single source who corroborates your own beliefs rather than rationally examining the data.

            A similar issue occurs when creationists cite “scientists” who reject the validity of the theory of evolution.

  • Ronald More

    Bishop, when I have the impudence to climb into your pulpit and preach the Flying Spaghetti Monster you may give me your definition of brain death. Dr. Byrne has no scientific credibility.

  • Joe_DS

    After reading numerous–and sometimes contradictory–news reports and opinions, I finally located a (PDF) copy of Dr. Heidi Flori’s deposition concerning the deteriorating state of the child’s body–as it WAS several weeks ago. I now have absolute confidence that Jahi McMath is dead, and has been dead since she was initially diagnosed as such, based on the findings reported in that deposition.

    As a Catholic, the only thing I have left to say is:

    Eternal rest, grant unto Jahi McMath, O Lord, and let the perpetual light shine upon her.
    May she rest in peace. May her soul and the souls of all the
    faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

    Amen.

    • TerrieT

      Could you post a link please?

      • Joe_DS

        Hi Terrie:

        It’s contained in several news stories, but check this one out first:

        http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jan/10/texas-life-support-ethics-marlise-munoz

        –you will find a direct link to the PDF file embedded in this paragraph:

        “Before writing this story, I reread a document
        (pdf) that I discovered via Twitter from the US District Court in
        Northern California. It is a pediatric critical care specialist’s
        description of Jahi McMath’s irreversible “post-mortem bodily
        deterioration”.”

        If you can’t find it there, then do a google search for:

        “sloughing her gut” PDF

        The top link in the list will take you directly to the document.

        I will warn you, some of the statements are rather graphic and disturbing.

        HTH,
        Joe

  • Hekate
  • quidkat

    Thank you, Bishop Finn for clearly stating what the Church teaches about this issue. For family and health care workers, this a very soul searching dilemma that should be approached on a case by case basis to discern what is just and merciful, what God is asking given their state in life. The family should speak for the child. There is a moral argument as you point out to either side of the decision at hand. To think that it should be vested in the clinical, coldly logical and often times secular view of life in the backdrop of financial interest is to open the door of the person being the property of the State. We all need to be aware of that danger and acknowledge it.

    • Hekate

      The Catholic Church accepts brain death.

      • kidscientist

        It also accepts removal of both life-support (from a living body) and removal of mechanical ventilation from a dead body. There are a few people on here professing to understand science (and they don’t) and seeming to think they understand the Catholic Church’s standing and they do not.

        • quidkat

          Again I will state: You have no disagreement with me here. The good Bishop also states that the decision to remove life support is not immoral and neither is it wrong to give some time for the patient to remain on life support. I am questioning the coercion of the hospital and court being able to step in and take the decision from the parents.

          • kidscientist

            This family had time. They wanted indefinite time, and they wanted surgical procedures conducted on a poor child that had been declared dead and for whom many days, many confirmatory tests, and many doctors could never come to any other conclusion but that she was deceased. There was no coercion, and it was the family that brought the courts into it.

          • Glynis

            What coercion? Parents are not medically capable to determine when death occurs..

          • quidkat

            You as a patient or parent have the right of informed consent. As a prudent patient or advocate, you should research what is being advocated, who will do it and what are the risks, benefits and differing opinions. Doctors and lawyers are not God, and they are advocates that are practicing a profession that are to advocate for the client. If you are comfortable with being the ward of the state, put it in writing. I prefer a real person who knows me and who I trust to make such decisions.

          • Glynis

            and why do you think that there wasn’t informed consent?

          • quidkat

            I did not say there was no informed consent. It appears that the parents did their own homework and opted to give the daughter a chance to recover. Clearly, the parents are not at a point where they feel they have given the daughter enough time to heal or deteriorate. Perhaps if the hospital had given more time to this, trached and fed her for a period, the next step would have been more palatable for them to make the decision. We as Catholics pray for a peaceful death. This turmoil is preventing that. We don’t have to be rushing this decision in order to see it as a competition of who is right about the situation. Unfortunately, when the family was against the wall in the City of Oakland, they went to the press. Would this be an issue in a family like Bill Gates if they wanted more time? That is probably a question in the parents minds right now. If any good comes out of this, we have to understand there is a true debate going on in the legal, medical, scientific and to some extent religious communities, and there is no clear cut answer. It is on a case by case basis with many factors unique to the individual.

          • Catholic Scientist

            Thank you for your charitable and informative posts, quidkat.

          • Glynis

            You didn’t say so but you sure did imply it when your comment was about informed consent. There are actually physiological reasons why you don’t feed a deceased person whose intestines are documented as sloughing. And just how much time is enough? The hospital agreed to an outside opinion. They were given until the end of the month.

          • shatzi178

            What “homework” did the parents do to come to the conclusion that the child was alive? Faith in God and denial of scientific FACTS do not qualify as doing your “homework” Perhaps if they had done some REAL research they would have understood the facts.Hospitals have no obligation to trache or feed a corpse as it is unethical and no insurance would pay for it. CHO does a LOT of charity care and will treat ANY child regardless of ability to pay but those things are reserved for the LIVING where it can do some good. If Bill Gates wants to keep a brain dead child alive with private money that would be his choice but I doubt he would be irrational enough to do that.

      • quidkat

        You have no disagreement with me here. The good Bishop also states that the decision to remove life support is not immoral and neither is it wrong to give some time for the patient to remain on life support. I am questioning the coercion of the hospital and court being able to step in and take the decision from the parents.

        • Glynis

          parents do not determine when death occurs.

          • quidkat

            Neither do judges, lawyers nor doctors. In the end, that belongs to God. We can make the best decision within moral boundaries as to either approach and not be playing God. I am not in the argument of this little girl and the decision in her particular circumstance. Non of us have all the facts, except for those directly involved.

          • Glynis

            Then if you want it to belong to God then simply stop all medical intervention and turn it over to God. You really can’t have it both ways.

          • quidkat

            That is for her parents to decide after prayers, consultation with those they trust and their own assurance that they are making the best decision. Not for us.

          • Glynis

            you are the one that said it belongs to God. You can’t say it belongs to God and then turn around and say it is for her parents to decide. If now you say it’s for her parents to decide then you don’t actually mean it belongs to God. I’ve already said that parents aren’t the ones to decide.

          • TerrieT

            Where do we draw the line at what belongs to God? Dialysis? Transplants? Cancer treatment? I would wager some of us posting would not be alive without some type of medical intervention (even Rx).

          • Glynis

            I’m not the one who said it did belong to God.

          • shatzi178

            The parents are welcome to decide as long as they then must pay with PRIVATE money for EVERYTHING that is done after the declaration of death by PROFESSIONALS who have training to determine when said death occurred!

          • Shay

            What if her status is changed to PVS?

          • shatzi178

            Who would change her status and how? She is DECEASED and a legal DEATH CERTIFICATE says so, SMDH!

          • shatzi178

            SCIENCE decides when death occurs NOT RELIGION!

        • Kathy English

          Please stop calling this abuse enabler “the good Bishop.” It would be hard to find a bishop who is worse.

    • Kathy English

      And please Bishop Finn, tell us where the Church stands on child pornography and those who enable it.

  • Hekate

    Google Bishop Robert W Finn – he is a convicted felon, this article is completely inaccurate, it wasn’t a routine tonsillectomy, but a more complex surgery, and Dr Byrne is not a neurologist. Plus the court has not seen the video. The lawyer has claimed that this poor child had a feeding tube inserted, even though her death has been certified by the coroner. Performing any sort of surgery on a corpse, other than for the purpose of organ harvesting, is illegal in California. The lawyer should be disbarred for this macabre charade.

  • TerrieT

    Interesting, wow … Dr. Byrne, who went to Oakland a few days after Christmas, doesn’t believe Jahi is dead. What moved me most was something I had not yet read in any media accounts: He told me that Jahi was not totally unresponsive – but rather, when touched or talked to by family members, she moves her arms and/or legs. I must say that this is not what I imagined in the case of someone who is dead.

    • Glynis

      Then you need to read about the Lazarus reflex. And in the court documents the doctor didn’t say when touched OR talked to but rather when touched AND talked to. This makes a big difference. Physiologically movements arise in the spinal cord not the brain which is why touch can elicit the movements. And that was shortly after her diagnosis. That doesn’t go on indefinitely as the spinal cord will deteriorates.

      • TerrieT

        This Dr’s opinion puts doubt in my mind that she is truly dead. Death by neurological criteria is controversial IMO and if her family and guardians want to keep her “hooked up” then that should be THEIR decision. None of ours. I am familiar with the Lazarus reflex. Also familiar with many cases where others had been decreed “brain dead” only to awaken.

        • Glynis

          No, there are no instances in which someone was brain dead that awakened. This doctor didn’t examine her at all. I wouldn’t put any trust in a doctor who made a diagnosis without an examination. I don’t know how you can deny signs of decomposition.

          • TerrieT

            Maybe because I (nor you) haven’t SEEN any? All we have is rumors and heated opinions. People have awakened after being declared brain dead, rare but it happens. Colleen Burns is one, there are others…

          • Glynis

            Colleen Burns was not brain dead. Her case isn’t remotely similar to Jahi’s case in any respect. If anybody had awakened from being brain dead it would most definitely be in the medical literature. There are no cases. Misdiagnoses from coma and persistent vegetative state yes, but again, those are not the same as brain death.

          • dimensio

            Individuals “recovering” after being incorrectly declared brain-dead are newsworthy. They are newsworthy specifically because such recovery is extremely uncommon. Relying upon such uncommon occurrences instead of actual data is logically fallacious.

            Ms. McMath has been declared brain-dead following independent examinations by multiple physicians. She did not “recover” for more than three weeks after the initial declaration, and no rational reason exists to believe that Ms. McMath is actually alive.

  • Catholic Scientist

    Thankfully, Jahi survived her ordeal of being starved for 28 days and is doing better now – quote:

    THU JAN 09, 2014 17:32 EST

    Jahi McMath ‘improving,’ and ‘doing very well’ after receiving treatment, family says

    “She is doing very well, and now getting the treatment she should have gotten 28 days ago,” family attorney Christopher Dolan said via Twitter.

    see more at http://www.lifesitenews.com/mobile/news/jahi-mcmath-improving-and-doing-very-well-after-receiving-treatment-family

    It is good that her family found a Catholic hospital willing to provide her the tracheostomy and feeding tube she needed. Also, I thank God that Jahi is being cared for at an undisclosed location. Jahi and her doctors and nurses wouldn’t be safe from haters, in this darkened world…

    I’m going to pray for Jahi and her family, and for our brave Bishop Robert W. Finn.

    I can’t believe the amount of hatred directed at His Excellency, Bishop Finn.

    Also, the hatred and ridicule directed at Dr. Paul Byrne, a dedicated professional and former president of the Catholic Medical Association.

    Let us pray for our Catholic bishops, priests, and medical professionals…

    • Glynis

      there is no independent corroboration of what they said. It is simply hearsay.

      And by the way, she was receiving IV’s which means she wasn’t being “starved”.

    • dimensio

      I am confused. How, exactly, does a deceased person “survive” any event that occurs after their death? Moreover, how have you even concluded this “survival” based upon entirely unverified claims?

  • Skimo1

    In 2012, “Bishop Robert W. Finn of Missouri was sentenced to two years of court-supervised probation for failing to report suspected child abuse by a priest who was later convicted on federal child pornography charges.” (Source: National Catholic Reporter)

    “Finn is the first and only U.S. bishop to be convicted of the misdemeanor crime of failure to report a priest suspected of child sex abuse to government authorities.” (Source: Wikipedia)

    So much for giving any respect to this guy. Hey Bishop, maybe you should have used all that time and effort you spent covering up for child abusing priests and used it to educate yourself on basic biology and the meaning of brain death. You’re not only clueless, but you’re a lowlife who enabled child abusers. Nice.

  • Carmella

    This is one of the most irresponsible pieces of nonsense and garbled truths in a pile of them I have read about Jahi. She has died, and should be laid yo rest…not desecrated for an interminable time frame by her family members.

  • Catholic Scientist

    Thinking about the strong emotions elicited in the public… I hope it will awaken people to the fact that the theory of “brain death” is very shaky. You know something’s wrong with “brain death”, when “brain dead” people are waking up left and right, and when “formerly brain dead” people are all over the media, giving interviews and telling their stories.

    You know something’s wrong with brain death when this appears in Time Magazine – quote from http://healthland.time.com/2014/01/02/viewpoint-why-brain-death-isnt-an-on-off-switch/

    “The rare but real cases where people do awaken from what doctors have labeled as brain death or irreversible coma only make the questions, and the need for answers, all the more urgent.”

    “All of this means that finding a completely reliable indicator of the ultimate lack of consciousness— death— is difficult.”

    Read more: Brain death: Why it’s not a switch that doctors can turn on and off | TIME.com http://healthland.time.com/2014/01/02/viewpoint-why-brain-death-isnt-an-on-off-switch/#ixzz2qBEBIAWt

    I might add, the cases of “formerly brain dead” folks awakening and telling their stories are rare because many “brain dead” people are dissected alive for their organs, for “the gift of life” – for organ donation. Thus, they don’t get a chance to wake up, like Zack Dunlap, Colleen Burns, Steven Thorpe, and others did. You can’t wake up and tell your story, after your chest has been cut open by an organ transplant team, and after your kidneys, lungs, liver, heart, and so on have been surgically removed and transplanted into organ recipients.

    Also, finding a completely reliable indicator of death is not that difficult as the Time Magazine piece puts it. We have been doing that for thousands of years. It’s called “cold, blue, stiff, and decomposing, with no respiration and no heartbeat”.

    I, for one, choose to come down on the side of Drs. D. Alan Shewmon, Paul A. Byrne, Peter Singer, Robert Truog, and others, totally rejecting the whole concept of “brain death” as scientifically unsound.

    The infanticide-promoting Dr. Peter Singer, and Dr. Robert Truog who believes that it’s OK to kill people for their organs, are actually some of the strongest witnesses on my side. They admit that “brain death” theory does not stand up to scientific scrutiny. Dr. Singer calls “brain death” artificial, contrived, bogus. A bogus definition of death.

    But others may disagree with me, and with Drs. Singer, Truog, Shewmon, and Byrne.

    However, I will stick to my guns. Also, I’m not an organ donor and I won’t accept organs surgically removed from “brain dead” people. I did my homework, I educated myself, and I’m afraid “brain death” proponents are less informed, less educated on the issue than I am – or else, some of them, definitely have an agenda of deliberately mislabeling living people as “brain dead”.

    I may have little hope to persuade someone of the fallacy of “brain death” theory, if they don’t have the same in-depth knowledge of the brain that I have, and if they are not willing to educate themselves.

    Perhaps we should all just fall back on our freedoms in a pluralistic society.

    If you believe in “brain death”, go for it. Just don’t try to force your views on Jahi McMath’s family, on Dr. Paul A. Byrne, or on yours truly (Catholic Scientist) typing this post.

    P.S. Here’s some relevant literature:

    http://www.bmj.com/rapid-response/2011/10/29/professor-peter-singers-views-brain-death

    Quote:

    “Readers following this debate may take an interest in the philosophical views of Peter Singer, professor of bioethics at Princeton University’s Center for Human Values.

    …Singer also points out that it is simply not true that all brain function necessarily ceases with brain death – for instance, pituitary function often continues for some time after formal criteria for brain death are met.

    Singer takes the position that brain dead individuals are still alive, but that organ harvesting from these individuals is none the less acceptable. His position is that rather than employ artificial, contrived, or bogus definitions of death, we should recognize that the only intellectually honest course is to admit that all lives are not equally valuable and that some lives are indeed in such a degraded and hopeless state that even though they are technically “alive,” it is still ethically acceptable to utilize their organs for transplantation.”

    See also:

    http://spruce.umflint.edu/~simoncu/115/singer.pdf

    http://www.amazon.com/Rethinking-Life-Death-Collapse-Traditional/dp/0312144016

    • http://www.julianajaeger.net/ Juliana Jaeger

      It’s called “misdiagnosis” and it does happen.

    • dimensio

      Citing anecdotes of misdiagnosis does not constitute a data set showing that a majority of brain-death declarations are in error. You are appealing to the “spotlight” fallacy.

      Citing a single authority who disagrees with a consensus as proof of your position is a “cherry picking” of data.

    • Cynthia DuBois

      You need to do some real research. Go to a medical library.

  • Catholic Scientist

    Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz (Lincoln, NE) on “brain death” and organ transplants – see youtube videos:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hsdcPTUoTU

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8XZ9LmCWFS4

    • Glynis

      you sure are focused on organ donation. There is nothing at all that indicates that organ donation was even a consideration at all in Jahi’s case. If it was, the hospital would not have wanted to remove the ventilator. The family has made no statement whatsoever about organ donation. It’s clear you have an agenda.

    • dimensio

      Representatives of Children’s Hospital Oakland sought to have Ms. McMath’s body removed from a ventilator. As was noted in a brief submitted by a representative of the hospital, medical support is continued for a deceased person only when organs are being preserved for transplantation. By requesting the removal the ventilator, the hospital was demonstrably not attempting to preserve her organs for transplant.

      Your attempt to imply that the hospital declared Ms. McMath brain-dead due to a desire to harvest her organs is therefore not supported by objective reality, and is in fact directly contradicted by the hospital’s actions.

  • chrisinva

    On one central point we can all agree: pray!

  • DanielEPhillips

    http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/1103/1103_01.asp Want to know who loves you most in this world ?

    • dimensio

      The rantings of an anti-Catholic, science-denying conspiracy theorist are of no relevance to the current discussion.

  • Pingback: “Sometimes Things Are Not As They Seem” – Bishop Finn on Jahi McMath

  • OneleggedTarzan

    I don’t even beleive in brain death. A friend of mind who worked in a neo-natal ward told me a story, must be 30 years ago now, about a new born that got some terrible brain disease that liquified about half of her brain. The baby was expect to be short-lived and entirely unresponsive. Within six months she was sitting up and babbling. Whatever the metaphysics of it all, there is no scientific guarantee of what the future holds for anybody who is not yet actually dead.

    • dimensio

      Clearly, your anecdote of a newborn with partial brain damage proves that the significant consensus regarding brain-death of the vast majority of neurologists is entirely wrong. A single, unverifiable story of a child who was not even declared brain-dead entirely vindicates your refusal to accept brain-death as a real diagnosis.

      • OneleggedTarzan

        I don’t need to vindicate my refusal. I can just refuse because I want to. And I don’t have to be bullied by consensus. In fact after the many genocides of the 20th century I don’t see why anyone with a heart would ever invoke consensus as an argument.

        • dimensio

          You are certainly free to refuse to accept established reality. Creationists to so quite frequently, refusing to be “bullied” by concepts such as evidence and data. You are also free to reject the idea of accepting the consensus of educated experts as a rational basis for accepting propositions, and you are free to make intellectually dishonest false comparisons to atrocities when attempting to justify your reason for doing so.

          • OneleggedTarzan

            You just said the same thing three different ways, i.e., people who are much smarter than I am have “established reality” and I should sit down and not bother my pretty little head about it. And that’s actually not a logical argument.

          • Glynis

            The people dimensio referred to base their arguments on decades of evidence and data. You said you don’t have to believe it if you don’t want to and cite an individual anecdote from 30 years ago. Which of these arguments is logical and based in reality?

          • OneleggedTarzan

            Why would my reality be any less real than consensus reality? Are you saying it just didn’t happen, or that it just doesn’t count, because a thousand scientists? You do realise that scientists, individually and in aggregate, are still just people. They have to interpret what they observe, just like the rest of us.

            But of course you also think that that a baby in the womb can’t feel any pain because there is no way to measure the pain, right? You’re bound to. Because these arguments are always really meant to diminish the soul so that you can do whatever is most convenient with the body. And “data” and “consensus” just become part of that process, a process that is pretending to be scientific when it is actually metaphysical.

          • Glynis

            There is no your reality over other peoples reality. There is just reality. Reality is based on evidence. If you can’t provide any evidence then it’s simply hearsay. Nobody is dimensioning Jahi’s soul by saying her body is dead. Death releases her soul to the heavenly Father.

          • dimensio

            “Reality” is not subjective.

            A scientific consensus based upon the research of educated experts, while not infallible, has consistently proved a substantially more reliable means of determining the nature of reality than have individual, unverifiable anecdotes regarding unrelated occurrences.

            The experiences of “a baby in the womb” is entirely unrelated to the current discussion. Your referencing of it is a fallacy of irrelevance, and your accusation regarding motive lacks any supporting evidence.

          • OneleggedTarzan

            You’ll be thrilled to read this.

            https://www.vocativ.com/01-2014/killing-softly/

          • dimensio

            You are again appealing to irrelevant subject matter that in no way affects the validity of the consensus of brain-death and that in no way alters the reality that Ms. Jahi McMath is already deceased.

          • OneleggedTarzan

            You are again appealling to consensus, which really doesn’t work on anyone who isn’t already a part of the consensus. You can keep insisting till the cows come home, it won’t change the fact that I do not accept consensus as a basis for moral decision making. You would love to simply say that questions about when life begins and ends are NOT moral decisions, and that they only belong to so-called “objective” science (which as any sociologist of science will tell you is an illusion). I reject that. You might want to ask yourself why that bothers you so much.

          • dimensio

            I am aware that you do not accept consensus. You have established, sufficiently, that you prefer to rely upon wishful thinking than upon analysis of data and that you wish to rely upon fallacious reasoning rather than logic in arguing your position.

            I am not “bothered” by your irrationality. I am merely noting the fact of it.

          • OneleggedTarzan

            *Because a thousand scientists didn’t integrate it into their data sets?

          • dimensio

            On the contrary; I have explicitly recognized and respected your right to deny, for entirely irrational reasons such as unverifiable anecdotes about a situation that is not even directly applicable to the relevant subject, an educated consensus based upon extensive research conducted over several decades.

    • Catholic Scientist

      Real death has been replaced by this legal fiction of “brain death”, which allows doctors and lawyers to legally treat living people with brain injuries as if they were dead.

      Not only are these brain injured people alive, but many and perhaps the majority of the “brain dead” people have still, demonstrably, brain activity going on in their brains.

      Any time you see a patient whose body is not cold, you know the brain is still active. The hypothalamus (part of the brain) is the “thermostat” of the body, and “tells” the body to keep its temperature in the high 90s (Fahrenheit). Thus, when a patient is in a room that’s perhaps kept at 70 or 75 degrees, yet the patients’ body temperature is perhaps 95 or 98 degrees, that’s a proof right there that part of the brain is working. In contrast, a truly dead person’s body, a cadaver, will eventually cool down to room temperature, even if the body is wrapped into blankets.

      There’s also the problem that “brain death” tests were not designed to test for all brain activity and people are routinely, I repeat routinely misdiagnosed as brain dead when there’s a plethora of proofs that their brains are working. “Brain dead” children keep growing, “brain dead” girls are undergoing puberty, “brain dead” women bring pregnancies to full term – but it is medically impossible to do these things without parts of the brain, the hypothalamus and pituitary, working and releasing hormones into the bloodstream!

      These are some of the reasons why quite a few of the most prestigious medical professionals admit that “brain death” doesn’t truly mean that the brain has died. “Brain death” is basically a legal fiction, a sleight of hand similar to how unborn babies are legally denied personhood, and slaves had been legally denied personhood at one time in our history. The way “brain death” works is that a medical team or a lawyer can *legally* call someone dead, but the person is in fact alive and parts of the person’s brain are working.

      Since “brain death” is a legal fiction not grounded in medical and biological reality, we shouldn’t be surprised by the abundance of cases where people recover, walk out on their own feet, and give TV interviews after having been diagnosed as “brain dead” according to legally accepted criteria for “brain death”.

      • dimensio

        You have posted numerous comments challenging the concept of brain-death. Clearly, then, you must have conducted extensive research into the subject, and you must be extremely well-educated and well-researched in neurology in general, to be able to credibly challenge a substantial consensus amongst the vast majority of neurologists.

        Please, describe your personal research and experience in the field of neurology. I am certain that you must be a highly credentialed doctor with decades of personal experience, and not merely some individual posting unsubstantiated assertions without any basis in reality. I am certain also that you will be able to cite data showing that individuals are “routinely” misclassified as brain-dead, as you would not have asserted that such mistakes are “routine” unless you have access to statistics demonstrating such.

        I eagerly await your presentation of your supporting data.

        • Cynthia DuBois

          I want citations from a medical, peer-reviewed journal, please.

      • Glynis

        I’d also like to see the citations for the cases of the brain dead children growing and girls undergoing puberty. The brain dead women whose pregnancies were being maintained were not brought to full term. And those women’s hypothalamus and pituitary were not working and releasing hormones, the intensive medical intervention required included hormone replacement. There was no debate about whether those women were dead. They did not recover. Once delivery happened, the medical intervention on their body stopped.

      • Kate Johnson

        and all of this came about with the invention of the VENTILATOR which breathes for her. Take her off the ventilator and see how alive she is.

    • Catholic Scientist

      Dr. Robert Truog, Harvard University professor, doesn’t believe in brain death, either.

      Quote from Robert D. Truog, M.D., and Franklin G. Miller, Ph.D.

      N Engl J Med 2008; 359:674-675 August 14, 2008

      The concept of brain death has served us well and has been the ethical and legal justification for thousands of lifesaving donations and transplantations. Even so, there have been persistent questions about whether patients with massive brain injury, apnea, and loss of brain-stem reflexes are really dead. After all, when the injury is entirely intracranial, these patients look very much alive: they are warm and pink; they digest and metabolize food, excrete waste, undergo sexual maturation, and can even reproduce. To a casual observer, they look just like patients who are receiving long-term artificial ventilation and are asleep.

      The arguments about why these patients should be considered dead have never been fully convincing. The definition of brain death requires the complete absence of all functions of the entire brain, yet many of these patients retain essential neurologic function, such as the regulated secretion of hypothalamic hormones.2 Some have argued that these patients are dead because they are permanently unconscious (which is true), but if this is the justification, then patients in a permanent vegetative state, who breathe spontaneously, should also be diagnosed as dead, a characterization that most regard as implausible. Others have claimed that “brain-dead” patients are dead because their brain damage has led to the “permanent cessation of functioning of the organism as a whole.”3 Yet evidence shows that if these patients are supported beyond the acute phase of their illness (which is rarely done), they can survive for many years.4 The uncomfortable conclusion to be drawn from this literature is that although it may be perfectly ethical to remove vital organs for transplantation from patients who satisfy the diagnostic criteria of brain death, the reason it is ethical cannot be that we are convinced they are really dead.

      Dr. Truog is a professor of medical ethics and anesthesia (pediatrics) in the Departments of Anesthesia and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School and the Division of Critical Care Medicine at Children’s Hospital Boston — both in Boston. Dr. Miller is a faculty member in the Department of Bioethics, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD.

      See more at http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp0804474

      • dimensio

        If the consensus regarding brain-death of the vast majority of neurologists, who actually study and treat conditions of the human brain, is challenged by a single professor of medical ethics and a pediatrician, who does not, on the basis of “strawman” arguments that ignore the reality that almost all neurologists accept that brain death has occurred when both the brainstem and the upper brain show zero activity (as is the case with Ms. McMath) then clearly brain-death must be an entirely fictional concept with no basis in reality and Ms. Jahi McMath is merely asleep, she will reawaken soon, and the documented signs of physical decay of her body did not really occur.

        • Cynthia DuBois

          Pay no attention to what oozes from her nose….

      • OneleggedTarzan

        It’s another facet of the abortion argument. Of course if people don’t have a soul, then it all comes down to “what have done for me lately.”

    • Shellbster

      She had a brain disease. There are countless people living with those. Jahi has had no injury to her brain other than the lack of oxygen. When the brain gets no oxygen it dies.. just like YOU DO when YOU don’t get any oxygen in your lungs.

    • Kate Johnson

      That was not brain death. That was partial loss of function of the entire brain.

  • MotherInTheVale

    Before the 1960s, death was not a medical diagnosis. It was a spiritual condition: the moment when one’s soul left one’s body. A person was declared dead, not diagnosed dead. It was not a medical diagnosis. Until a person’s soul leaves their body, they are not dead. Young Jahi is not dead. Her soul has never left her body. Ever. Her parents also believe that there is possibly some treatment for their daughter and they feel the obligation to pursue that for her. However what this hospital actually wanted to do was terminate medical procedures that might possible lead to her death. Her parents did not want this to happen. It’s not really complicated. No scientific “opinion” can ever changed the definition of death, However, when our society decided that they had more faith in science than in God it was easier to turn to medical people or scientists for answers. There is almost NO agreement on what constitutes “brain death.” A report in 2007 determined that of 142 children who were diagnosed with “brain death,” the variables for making that determination were not consistent from Dr to Dr. While most in people in the United States seem to accept “brain death” as actual death, it is NOT universally accepted. In fact, the President’s Bioethics Council issued a report in 2009 reiterating what I stated above: that death is the moment when a living organism makes a transition from living to death (obviously they couldn’t mention soul, since that is a religious term) and that the “brain death” diagnosis is vague and ambiguous. I don’t suppose, however, that most people get their information from valid sources, but rather get it from CNN or FOX or a friend. Extending life support to a dying person is not cruel or unusual. One certainly is not morally obligated to do so, but it is humane. Refusing to offer treatment to an individual when there may be some hope is not only moral, but it is preferred to simply watching a person die without doing anything to help. I will say again, the Catholic Church has not done any favors and quite possibly has caused more than a few people to become confused about what death actually is. Death is the moment when a person’s soul leaves their body. When that happens, no one can be revived. If a person has been revived or is receiving treatments to breath and eat, then they are STILL ALIVE. Jahi is still alive. Her soul has not left her body nor has it ever. Perhaps she might die if her tubes are removed, but that is a decision for her parents to make. If her parents believe that there are treatments for Jahi, then they have the moral obligation to pursue them. If they wish to collect money to pay for her treatments, then they are free to do that as well. What is happening in the medical community, and which seems to have been embraced by many well meaning Catholics, is the widespread acceptance of denying medical treatment to people based on erroneous and made-up medical diagnoses. Brain death is one such medical diagnosis. It was created in 1968 specifically to harvest a heart for a transplant. This quote from the Presidential Committee on Bioethics reflects age old common sense and Catholic theology: “Death itself is NOT a diagnosis; that is the phenomenon of death and the selection of the appropriate standard for determining it ARE NOT STRICTLY MEDICAL or technical matters. Thus, any term chosen as a label for a medical diagnosis should not contain the word “death.” So I say again, Jahi is NOT dead. She is alive. Her medical diagnosis might be grave, but her parents have the RIGHT to pursue the course of action they think best. As Catholics, we can not embrace so-called “brain-death” as death. It is not. It is a lie manufactured by the medical community to make money.

    • Glynis

      how do you know her soul hasn’t left her body?

      • dimensio

        MotherInTheVale has asserted the claim. Is that not sufficient as proof?

        • Glynis

          sadly that seems to be enough for some people.

    • dimensio

      I believe that you have confused a paranoid conspiracy theory with rational argumentation. While often confused, the two concepts are not actually logically equivalent.

    • Cynthia DuBois

      I am Catholic. Watching her body decompose above ground is abhorrent. Your medieval lecture in support of this is offense.

    • Kate Johnson

      Before the 1960’s she would have been dead every which way. She is only breathing and has a heart beat because she is hooked up to a machine. You call that alive????

      BRAIN DEAD is dead. Sure, they can keep her physical body going on a machine, but her essence, her ‘being’ is dead. There is no brain function.

      The Catholic church agrees with this. Only a handfull of wackos believe she is not dead.

  • AOB11

    You evil beasts! I pray Jesus raises her up as a testimony against you all, but then youll claim it was malpractice and not a miracle. This family have the right to make this decision. I Bind you Satan! and I’m throwing you doubters out of the room. LORD God heal this precious child- for Your Glory!

    • dimensio

      Your rational, evidence-based argument is certainly conducive toward lending credibility to your position.

      • OneleggedTarzan

        Can you just not hear yourself? Your tone is very disagreeable.

        • dimensio

          I fully understand that my refusal to accept irrational appeals to emotion and to wishful thinking is unpleasant to others.

    • Shellbster

      If she comes back from the dead.. I think we can all agree it was a miracle created by a DOCTOR and not your god. I find it hard to believe that you all think your god will heal her while she is on a machine.

      Lets turn it off and see what happens eh?

      • Think

        God created the doctor. God heals her on machine off machine.
        So let it be done, and it is done.

    • Kate Johnson

      One can believe in God and Jesus and be religious without believing in raising the dead.

      I believe it is WRONG to ask God to reverse his decision. You are doing the evil here.

      • AOB11

        The Holy Bible tells of Christ’s power to both heal and resurrect the dead. Either you believe in Him or you dont. The evil here is fear and unbelief. I believe as I myself have been healed by God and I know that He is more than able.

        • Think

          You have been healed of what? Death?

          • AOB11

            Anyone who has believed in Christ has been healed of death. And Yes I was sick with life threatening illnesses and doctors missed them until it was very bad. God is real and still heals today. Amen.

          • Kate Johnson

            Maybe you should just pray instead of going to doctors since you have no trust in them.

          • AOB11

            I never said NOT to go to doctors. I said if you put your faith in them over GOD your foolish. Man makes mistakes. Doctors are not immune. God makes no mistakes. God has healed the sick and raised the dead on numerous occasions and HAS not changed as He is the same yesterday, today and forever. My life belongs to Him. I would not be here typing this right now if it werent for Him and I am only happy to proclaim His Truth. Your choice if you choose not to accept it.

          • Kate Johnson

            You sound like a nutter, sorry to say.

          • Kate Johnson

            Simply stated, where do you draw the line? There was a couple that put their faith in prayer and their baby died and now they are prosecuted for it. That was just negligence and stupidity, so where do you draw the line?

            There is science and the Catholic Church believes fully that Jahi is dead and with Jesus. You propose to undo what He has seen fit to do. Therefore you are questioning his wisdom. That is how I think.

          • AOB11

            God uses doctors and medicine. However, doctors do NOT know everything and God has both the power and the authority to work independently of these as well. Doctors and their modern tests have been known to be wrong. In this case God may very well be using those machines – to keep her alive until this is discovered. How do you know? Her mother simply stated that she wanted time to see what God would do and I am simply saying that isnt wrong. Let God have His say and trust Him to make the right decision. No human intervention can stop God. If He chooses to take her- no machine will stop Him, but if He chooses to raise her up-then we will all witness His Glory- The child isnt suffering. Let us all pray for Gods will to be done here. He is a miracle working God. Let us, the church, bow before Him and ask Him for a miracle- He is more than able to perform it.

          • Kate Johnson

            Now you are starting to sound like you are rewording things to fit your own agenda. This girl has died and is with Jesus. The rest is being done because the family wants money so they can sue the hospital.

            Thats all this is. Greed. And thats against the Lord.

          • AOB11

            Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. I see a mother whos child has been injured even to the point of death who is pleading for a miracle. God hears her pleading too and will not turn His face away from her. Its called mercy.

          • Kate Johnson

            And Gods will was done on December 12.

        • Kate Johnson

          You don’t speak for me. I believe, I have faith. In my faith I seek comfort and I seek to help others. I do not pray for my own personal gains; and that would include bringing loved ones back from the dead. He has a purpose and a plan. I do not question.

          • AOB11

            Jesus suffered, died, and resurrected for you. Wasnt that for your personal gain? To refuse to accept His sacrifice is contrary to His will and plan, but dont take my word for it- Read it for yourself- Is 53:5, John 11:25, Luke 8:54, Mark 6:5, Matt 13:58, and there are many more. Either you believe or you don’t. How do you expect to have an influence on a dying or already dead world if you can’t believe that Christ has defeated death, hell and the grave and is both willing and able to resurrect them? Lord, help our unbelief.

          • Kate Johnson

            To me what you are saying is very twisted indeed.

            This girl is dead. You are going to sit in your seat and tell me that we should not ever accept death?

          • AOB11

            Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. John 11:25. Jesus words not mine.

          • Kate Johnson

            So everyone who is dead should not be dead? Thats just bizarre and you are twisting religion for your own agenda which is a sin.

          • Kate Johnson

            And can you explain how Jesus did that for ‘me’ exactly? What was the purpose and the gain.

            Keep in mind…I do have faith and I believe…but there are some things which I interpret differently than you do.

            I do not believe that we should question His decision. My belief is that we are wrongly trying to bring back this girl.

          • AOB11

            Kate, Jesus died for your sins both known (transgressions) and hidden (iniquities) and the stripes that He bore upon His sinless flesh was for your healing- both spiritual and physical. God raised Him up to show that justice had been fulfilled concerning you by His sacrifice and that He had accepted the sacrifice, therefore forever trading your sinfulness for His Righteousness. We no longer are subject to sin and death because of what our Savior has done. Jesus said greater things than these (His miraculous works) we would do because He was going to the Father. :) Did He not raise the dead and heal the sick? We have allowed the world and the enemy to water down the pure message of Jesus- that we are ALL commissioned by Him to preach. Faith is more than just religious ceremony. Its resurrected LIFE within us all- Jesus’ Life. The real and only question that we should ask in this case is this- If Jesus were right here on the earth right now and came across Jahi McMath, what would He do? Because He is here- within each of us who have believed.

          • Kate Johnson

            “We no longer are subject to sin and death because of what our Savior has done”

            And what the religious sector is trying to do to Jahi is in direct contrast with this. You make no sense. Either YOU believe in life everlasting or you don’t.

          • AOB11

            I believe, but Ive also seen Him heal and resurrect. He wants us to have LIFE right here and right now too Kate. Its why He suffered. Its why He died. He wants us all to believe that. We dont have to accept death either here or everlasting, because of Him. Theres also something else you havent considered, perhaps God is allowing them to keep her alive for His purposes. Sure has made you and I think deeply about things and look down this page- a lot of others. God works in mysterious ways. I am watching to see how He will get the Glory in this child’s life, because He will. I feel that very strongly that shes being used by God and there can be nothing greater in life that we could ever aspire to.

          • Kate Johnson

            You have seen him resurrect?

          • AOB11

            Yes I have.

          • Kate Johnson

            Ok….then I guess you are a saint and we’re done here.

          • Kate Johnson

            2 Corinthians 5:6-8 – Therefore [we are] always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:

      • Think

        evil is in the devil, od is in God.
        Hmm just saw that and thought it would add dimension to the discussion.
        But I was wrong, I know that now.

        • Kate Johnson

          I very simply have faith. If we believe in the life after, there is nothing to fear in death. People die every single day.

          I believe we seek strength to live our lives to the best of our ability; not to seek to change what we can not change.

  • Catholic Scientist

    The strange thing is that I visited a major Catholic online forum and practicing church-going Catholics now say that the police should arrest Jahi’s family for “abusing a corpse”. I guess they would want Jahi’s doctors arrested as well, at the undisclosed Catholic hospital where she is being treated right now.

    We have a MAJOR problem in this country, when even the more religious Catholics speak like that.

    • dimensio

      You are correct. Catholics accepting the conclusions derived from research conducted by educated medical experts over the paranoid conspiracy theories that you advocate is a serious problem.

      Also a problem: many Catholics refuse to recognize and accept as reality the rantings of Mr. Jack T. Chick when he claims that the Catholic Church is the “Whore of Babylon” and that the Church maintains a computer database of every non-Catholic Christian in the world as part of an effort to systematically exterminate them when the Antichrist comes, all because Mr. Chick’s claims are paranoid delusions based solely upon the accusations of proven liars.

  • dimensio

    I have read, in the past, stories of legal authorities discovering the bodies of deceased children kept, unreported, by their parents who had expected the child to be raised from the dead (typically through divine intervention). In all such previous occurrences, the coroner’s office took custody of the child’s body and in many such occurrences the parents were criminally charged with mishandling of a corpse.

    Ms. McMath’s situation is essentially identical in practice: her mother has insisted upon retaining control over the body, believing that a divine miracle will “heal” the deceased Ms. McMath. In this case, however, legal authorities have effectively endorsed the behaviour of Ms. McMath’s mother (by allowing her to take custody of her daughter’s body) and numerous individuals are expressing support and sharing their belief that Ms. McMath will somehow be raised from the dead.

    Why is the reaction to Ms. McMath’s situation so different than the reaction to so many previous similar occurrences?

  • Hank Monteith

    Finn just needs to shut his mouth, about EVERYTHING and go away. No one with any sense would listen to him. Oh, and Maggy, that means you. (the one with “no sense”, I mean)

  • Pingback: Kansas City Bishop Pens Passionate Defense Of Life In Response To Jahi McMath Case | wyandotcountyrightolife

  • FedUp

    Beautifully written – and so true that brain dead diagnosis was completely for organ donation.
    Beware the harvesters!!

    • Kate Johnson

      You’re an idiot. No one was going to use this girls organs. AND….those organs are donated and they save lives. You propose to murder those that can be helped.

  • carroll

    Dr Byrne is not an “emerging expert in brain death”. He’s well recognized as a pediatrician from Toledo with no neurology credentials who espouses a set of junk science mumbo jumbo to uphold his extreme religious views, especially his vendetta against organ donation. Brain cells do not regenerate. Brain stem death as well as whole brain death has occurred in this case. “Jahi’s family seeking to keep her alive” is an incredibly inaccurate and misleading statement. You should have said Jahi’s family began reaching out to any organizations or individuals that would support their magical thinking that their daughter is alive, when sadly, she is brain dead. Clinically dead. A death certificate has been made out. If she ever wakes up she is the second coming of Jesus.

    • Kate Johnson

      Excellent post.

  • carroll

    BTW, don’t the Catholics have some pretty serious stuff in their beliefs about not desecrating dead bodies?

    • Kate Johnson

      These people on these sites are not speaking for all Catholics. On the genuine Catholic sites they believe Jahi McMath is dead and with Jesus. The Catholics accept Brain Death as true death. Some others have their own agenda and heaven knows….its not a good one.

  • frankyburns

    God can co anything. If he wanted this girl to live, she’d be up and walking, with a normal EKG.

Saturday
December 20, 2014
Newspaper of the Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph