A chorus of 'learned' medical ethicists have been making the media rounds to blast the anguished family of brain dead teen Jahi McMath after a horrific tragedy following what they assumed was a routine tonsillectomy surgery.
Arthur Caplan, director of the Division of Medical Ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center, told the LA Times last month, “I think it’s disrespectful to the dead in a fundamental way, and it opens the floodgates for other people to say, ‘Oh, you don’t really know when we’re dead, do you? So please make more efforts for my loved ones.’”
This African American family dared to stare down the doctors of Children's Hospital Oakland demanding that they do not turn of Jahi's ventilator after what they described as negligent treatment which precipitated her cardiac arrest from massive bleeding. They perceived that they were dealing with a set of bean counters cloaked in medical degrees who are often immune to the personal tragedies that unfold in the wings of their hospitals. They clinically refer to patient deaths from medical procedures as 'adverse events,' call the coroners, issue death certificates and then retreat in silence behind HIPPA laws.
The 'ethicists' are virtually silent on the Texas law requiring brain dead pregnant mothers to remain on life support despite the wishes of their families. There are no rampant ghoulish commentaries and editorials referring to these women as corpses or 'the deceased.' No one is speculating about the rapid decomposition of their bodies. They are often housed inside hospitals for months until they spontaneously abort, but few argue about wasted precious bed spaces and equipment and little is said about the costs incurred. Certainly not these 'medical ethicists' that have suddenly emerged from their crypts to create a storm about Jahi.
Marlise Munoz, a 33-year-old paramedic, has been in the intensive care unit of a Fort Worth hospital since collapsing on 26 November. Several medical procedures have been performed on her as they monitor the development of her fetus.
The doctors at Childrens Hospital Oakland claimed they did not perform procedures on deceased persons, refusing to insert a feeding tube into Jahi's body to keep her nourished. They had no problem beginning the process of euthanasia by withdrawing her food supply and were livid when they could not turn off her ventilator. Those concerns have never been raised when they are harvesting organs. Is the organ donation industry behind this firestorm over the brain dead? Will keeping them on ventilators for long periods of time slow down the harvesting of organs for lucrative transplant surgeries?
So one must ask: are doctors and families of the brain dead in Texas shielded from criticism by a rabid, wealthy and politically connected pro life, anti abortion lobby, while a poor pro life African American family and their attorney are mercilessly pilloried in the press and threatened with death?