Medical ethicists are criticizing the unnamed facility that agreed to keep the body of 13-year-old Jahi McMath on a ventilator after transferring her from an Oakland hospital, saying it will only delay the inevitable while potentially causing long-term financial and emotional harm to her family.
Jahi's case has been widely criticized by medical experts who have emphasized that people who are declared brain-dead are no longer alive. At least three neurologists confirmed Jahi was unable to breathe on her own, had no blood flow to her brain and had no sign of electrical activity three days after she underwent surgery Dec. 9 to remove her tonsils, adenoids and uvula at Children's Hospital Oakland and went into
After waging a public relations battle with the hospital, Jahi's family members won a court order keeping her on a ventilator, and eventually permission to transfer her to an undisclosed care facility. Medical ethicists are blaming the operators of that facility for perpetuating misconceptions of brain death that have dogged the Jahi case since her family went public.
San Francisco attorney Christopher Dolan has also been widely criticized as having fed false hope to the McMath family that somehow their daughter -- who was issued a death certificate by the Alameda County coroner -- will recover.
But McCullough told USA Today that he worries about the emotional and financial damage that the parents will suffer, noting that "insurance doesn't pay for dead people."
The McMaths raised tens of thousands of dollars from the public during their campaign to keep Jahi on a ventilator -- money Dolan has said was used to transfer the girl's body to the unnamed facility. But experts point out that the money will eventually run out, and no amount of artificial help will stop Jahi's body from decomposing.
"Are there some living cells in the body? Not all the cells die at once. It takes time. But her body will start to break down and decay. It's a matter of when, not whether."