Brain Death


Blunt, But True: Brain Death Is Death

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

It’s been more than three weeks since 13-year-old Jahi McMath was declared brain dead after what appeared to be a tonsillectomy at Children’s Hospital Oakland. In the interim, the family has battled the hospital to keep McMath’s body hooked up to a ventilator while they have searched for a facility willing to accept her. Friday morning, at a hearing in Alameda Superior Court, the two sides seem to have come to an agreement that the family can possibly remove her, as long as they accept full responsibility for her.

“This isn’t a patient with a bad prognosis. This is about someone who died. And what the family is hoping for … is resurrection.”

But none of this changes the sad fact that Jahi McMath is dead, as experts patiently explained on KQED’s Forum earlier this week.

David Magnus, director of Stanford’s Center for Biomedical Ethics, pointed to six separate independent evaluations that have all come to the same conclusion, that McMath is “medically dead, she is legally dead.” Continue reading