Terri Schiavo Foundation intervenes to help save 13-year-old ‘brain-dead’ patient
Life-or-death medical decisions typically have been made by families and doctors, but Bobby Schindler, of the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network, said that has been changing for some time.
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That’s because “ethics panels” and medical facility “boards” were getting involved in making determinations about who lived and who died, based on the factors of their illness, needs, treatment, expenses and resources.
But now he warns that the government, through Obamacare, will be taking over.
“People need to realize that ethics boards, hospital boards have been making decisions [about treatments] we’re receiving or not receiving. It will be worse with government-controlled health care,” he told WND today.
“They’re taking medical decisions out of the family’s hands and putting it into the hands of bean counters.”
That such government intervention in life will happen already has been confirmed by physician and former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, who admitted Sarah Palin was right – because health care will have to be rationed under Obamcare, “death panels” will have to decide who gets critical care and potentially life-saving treatments.
Schindler said his organization is set up to fight for the handicapped or otherwise helpless when facing a life-endangering situation, and that’s how he got involved in the fight for the life of Jahi McMath.
She was undergoing a tonsillectomy at a California hospital when things went horribly wrong. Doctors soon declared her brain-dead and, but for the fight by her parents, already would have shut off a ventilator to which she is attached.
Now the hospital, Children’s Hospital Oakland, says it will not allow doctors to perform procedures involving breathing and feeding tubes that would allow the 13-year-old to be moved safely to another hospital.
Chris Dolan, a lawyer for McMath and her family, said in a statement posted online at the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network that he continues to request permission for the needed tracheostomy procedure so that she could be moved.
“Amazing research opportunities exist but Children’s Hospital Oakland holds the key to Jahi’s death sentence – a simple tracheostomy procedure, despite a mother’s plea and the money to pay for it. Instead they starve her,” he said. “Our please is for a courageous ENT specialist physician to step forth and give this mother the choice and this child a chance.”
Schindler told WND his organization comes in where the need is for a long-term care facility or alternative to hospital intensive care unit occupancy.
“We provide the resources to fight against what’s there,” he said.
Another hospital was on stand-by, he said, ready to accept Jahi McMath and provide treatment.
“We have a facility that would take her,” he confirmed. “But Childrens Hospital from Oakland is preventing that from happening.”
Any decision to terminate a life should not be made quickly, he said, and given time there are many things that could happen for Jahi.
His group has for its mission the development of a national network of resources and support for the “medically dependent, persons with disabilities and the incapacitated who are in or potentially facing life-threatening situations.”
It originally was set up to benefit Terry Schindler Schiavo, who died in 2005 after being deprived of food and water on the orders of Circuit Court Judge George W. Greer of Florida’s Sixth Judicial Court.
She was 41.
She had been stricken in 1990, at the age of 26, with a mysterious cardio-respiratory arrest for which no cause has ever been determined.
She was diagnosed with hypoxic encephalopathy – which is a neurological injury caused by lack of oxygen to the brain. She was able to breathe on her own and maintain vital function. She remained in a severely compromised neurological state.
Officials at the Oakland hospital have said they are not willing to let an outside doctor work in their facility, and their own doctors are forbidden from helping since hospital officials consider the teenager a corpse.
Hospital attorney Douglas Straus said, “Performing medical procedures on the body of a deceased human being is simply not something Children’s Hospital can do or ask its staff to assist in doing.”
According to reports, he earlier had said the hospital would allow a doctor found by the family to insert a feeding tube and replace the ventilator keeping Jahi’s heart beating.
“They’re speaking out of both sides of their mouths. They say one thing and we go down that road, and then they say something else,” Dolan said of hospital officials. “The hospital said, ‘Bring us a doctor’ and we said, ‘Tell us the conditions’ and now, they’ve wasted a half a day of our time. We don’t have much time.”
The hospital has said it would release the girl with written permission from the coroner.
The girl had a tonsillectomy and other related procedures early last month to treat sleep apnea.
According to her family, she went into cardiac arrest after she started bleeding in the recovery room.
Hospital officials three days later declared her brain-dead.
However, the chief of a foundation that is responsible for the International Standard Version of the Holy Bible, a trained theologian, says the family of Jahi McMath has a legitimate argument against the hospital’s contention that she is “brain-dead” and her medical treatments should be halted.
She’s not dead.
At least, not according to the Bible’s definition, said Dr. William Welty, a Ph.D. who graduated from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and later taught New Testament Greek at Simon Greenleaf University.
Welty told Dolan, an attorney representing the family of Jahi McMath, that he could be an expert witness on death according to the Bible, in an email that was made available to WND.
“I have followed the Jahi McMath medical debacle for a number of days now. I am a professional theologian in the evangelical tradition of which Ms. McMath’s mother Nailah Winkfield appears to be part,” he wrote.
“As I am an expert in biblical theology, including Greek and Hebrew, with respect to the question of what evangelical Christians believe about death, I might be able to be of assistance in the way of providing expert testimony about what the conservative biblical tradition to which Ms. McMath’s mother belongs actually teaches, which is that death is defined not as absence of brain waves but rather the lack of a circulating blood supply,” he wrote.
“As the Bible states that the life of the flesh is in the blood (citing Leviticus in the Hebrew Scriptures) and not in brain wave activity, perhaps a compromise stipulation could be presented to ask the court to order that if Ms. McMath is disconnected from life support, if her heart continues to beat on its own that she should be maintained by fluid nutrition at the hospital’s expense, given that the hospital’s negligence is the proximate cause of this difficulty.”
Welty told WND that the Bible doesn’t define death as a cessation, reduction or absence of brain activity.
It defines life as being in the blood, and “as a closely held religious belief,” the family of the 13-year-old has a right to practice their faith.
He said while science contends that it understands death, and life, and the narrow divide, he pointed out a recent report that indicates that may not be so clear.
According to a Scripps Howard News Service report only days ago, “there’s growing evidence that revival is possible for at least some patients whose hearts and lungs have stopped working for many minutes, even hours. And brain death – when the brain irreversibly ceases function – is also proving less open and shut.”
“For decades, doctors have recorded cases where people immersed in very cold water have been revived after hours have gone by,” the report said. “Many studies have found that hypothermia protects the brain by decreasing its need for oxygen and staving off cell death. Body cooling has become common for many patients after cardiac arrest.”
The report continued, “Defining brain death is becoming more complex as researchers find signs of activity in both human and animal subjects whose brainwaves at first show they’ve ‘flat-lined’ to the point that there is no brain function. … Scientists at the University of Montreal reported in September on the case of one Romanian patient who was in an extreme deep coma after treatment with a powerful anti-epileptic drug. Although the electroencephalogram (EEG) showed no activity in the man’s cortex (the master processor of the brain), there was activity in the hippocampus, the region responsible for memory and learning.
“Just how conscious the brain remains after cardiac arrest in frequently debated and researched. Various studies of cardiac arrest survivors shows many experience profound mental or emotional change. About 20 percent of survivors say they heard or saw something while they were clinically dead,” the report said.
Welty said the simple facts are that science thought it understands death, but doesn’t.
He said the one absolute regarding death is that the body tissues decay, and if that’s not happening, there remain questions.
And with those questions unanswered, he said, hospitals and others should choose the conservative path and not take positive action that would bring about death.
SOURCE: WND News