The mother of Jahi McMath, the 13-year-old Oakland girl who was declared brain-dead after a complicated surgery that involved removing her tonsils, insisted in a Facebook post this week that her daughter has improved physically, but that it continues to be an "unbelievably difficult time" for the family.
Bioethics experts also took issue with news media coverage that often repeated family assertions that the girl was alive, saying it clouded an issue the public already has difficulty grasping.
The Oakland girl underwent surgery Dec. 9. She was declared brain-dead after she went into cardiac arrest and suffered extensive brain
At least three neurologists confirmed that Jahi was unable to breathe on her own, had no blood flow to her brain and had no sign of electrical activity in her brain.
Bodies of the brain-dead have been maintained on respirators for months or, in rare cases, years. However, once cessation of all brain activity is confirmed, there is no recovery, Rebecca S. Dresser, professor of law and ethics in medicine at Washington University in St. Louis, told The Times.
The case could have long-term consequences.
Arthur Caplan, director of the division of medical ethics at
"The ability to get clear about brain death has been a real obstacle," he said. "This hasn't helped at all."
In her Facebook post, Winkfield dismissed those critics, insisting that when it comes to her daughter, "I will never let her suffer."
"God can overcome all things and I believe that his will has yet to be fully revealed," Winkfield wrote. "I love Jahi and where there is love, there is hope."