By Dave Andrusko
It seems almost impossible that the time has flown by this quickly, but it’s been nearly two years since Jahi McMath suffered a cardiac arrest following routine surgery and was soon after declared brain-dead.
Last Saturday the “brain dead” girl’s family celebrated her 15th birthday at her bedside at a New Jersey hospital and posted a series of pictures on her Facebook page.
In a video, posted on Facebook, Jahi responds to a request from her mother, Nailah Winkfield, by moving her foot.
The Daily Mail adds, “In the another clip, her mother asks her to move her arm, and the girl’s hand grips an object before relaxing.”
Following December 9, 2013, surgery to remove her tonsils, adenoids, and extra sinus tissue to treat pediatric obstructive sleep apnea, Jahi went into cardiac arrest. Three days later she was diagnosed as brain-dead and a titanic legal battle began in earnest when UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland sought to remove Jahi from a ventilator over the family’s vigorous objections.
Following a series of court hearings, during which the hospital never backed down from its insistence that “This is a deceased young woman,” a deal was brokered during a hearing before Alameda Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo. It allowed Ms. Winkfield to remove her daughter from the hospital as long as she assumed “full responsibility.”
Bioethicist Wesley J. Smith has followed Jahi’s case closely and NRL News Today has reposted his posts. Probably the most significant fact to date is that “her body has apparently not deteriorated as generally occurs in a brain death situation,” as Wesley wrote last week.
However it is not Jahi’s family alone that believes she is not brain-dead. “Declarations from respected physicians have concluded she exhibits neurological functions that are inconsistent with a deceased person,” Wesley wrote.
Then, just this month, a court in California permitted Ms. Winkfield to present evidence that Jahi ”has standing” to bring a lawsuit. Wesley, who is a lawyer, put that into layman’s language:
What does that mean? A dead person does not have standing to sue.
In other words, the court opened the door for the presentation of evidence that Jahi McMath is not dead, that is, her current condition does not meet the clinical criteria for a declaration of brain death.
The Daily Mail story quotes from recent Facebook posts:
‘Our little sleeping beauty is doing great and progressing. She is moving more on her mothers command.
‘As you can see she is still alive and just as beautiful as ever. Flawless skin! She will be 15 in a few days. Thank you all for the continued love, support and prayers!’
In a particularly poignant post dated October 24 (Jahi’s birthday), we read
Thank you Heavenly Father for the Gift of Life, the Life You granted Jahi, a Life she so much deserves and desires to live faithfully for You through the next year and many many more years to come.
Happy Birthday Beautiful Jahi, You Are 15 today, your friends love you, your family love you, many many people worldwide love you, but most importantly God loves you.
May you, Jahi McMath receive the gift of continued healing and full recovery.
May God protect and keep you safe, showering you and your loved ones with strength, love, health of mind, body, soul and more blessings in abundance. Keep Winning, Love you always, #TeamJahi.