When last we heard of Jahi McMath nearly 8 months ago, the startling revelation was made that she was not, in fact, brain dead, but rather very much alive. Well, sort of. Ok, not really at all. This supposed miracle was merely the opinion of one very biased neurologist who does not actually believe in the concept of brain death, as well as a couple of other doctors who hadn't actually examined her and were basing their opinions on two very strange and vague videos of Jahi which seemed to show her moving. Neither video was compelling or convincing in any way, and shockingly (not really) no new videos (or any other information, for that matter) have surfaced since then.
Then came the news about 2 months ago (which surprised exactly no one), that Jahi's parents were suing Children's Hospital Oakland and the surgeon who operated on Jahi.
And since then . . . nothing.
After waiting many breathless months for an update, we finally got one a few days ago! And it's from none other than my favourite fundamentalist
Regardless of how vehemently I (and the vast majority of the medical world) disagree with him, I still read his article voraciously. I mean, just look at this titillating title:
Jahi is alive
-- praise the Lord and pass the ammunition
If you're wondering, no, I haven't the foggiest notion what "pass the ammunition" is supposed to mean either, even after reading his article several dozen times. And unlike me, Dr. Byrne unfortunately does not always make sure to clarify things by the end of his stupid articles.
But anyway, WOW! AMAZING! Jahi is alive! Was I really wrong the whole time? Does medical science need to revise every medical textbook and eliminate the diagnosis of brain death?
Now hold everything. Before you critics get too excited and start penning your "Doc your so stupid I told you so lolololoooool!!1one" comments, remember that Dr. Byrne had said that exact same thing before without any real evidence. But wait, this time is different! He says, "Recently, I visited Jahi and her family in her home in New Jersey". WOW! AMAZING! Surely he'll post some wonderful pictures of Jahi alive with her eyes open, or at least he'll share some evidence of why he claims she's alive, right? Right??
Er, no. Not at all.
NOT. AT. ALL.
Over the next few paragraphs he rehashes Jahi's tragic story, going so far as to put "brain death" in quotation marks, making no apologies for his his opinion that "these two nouns together are not indication of true death". I'll at least give him credit for constancy.
And then, without further ado, he delves right into his non-medical garbage, throwing away any medical credibility he ever had and throwing around lies like an old baseball:
Three separate apnea tests were conducted on Jahi. Each time Jahi's life supporting ventilator was taken away for 10 minutes. Each time this caused carbon dioxide and acids to build up in Jahi's brain and body. These tests did nothing to help Jahi and very likely resulted in further swelling and damage to Jahi's brain. Yes. The doctors suffocated Jahi for 30 minutes as part of their declarations of "brain death."No, Paul. No, no, no. An apnea test doesn't work that way at all. I've described this before, but I'll do it again, and maybe Paul can learn something this time (though I have no doubt he will never see this, and even if he does he still won't get it). For an apnea test, the patient is pre-oxygenated with 100% oxygen to increase the oxygenation of the blood as much as possible. Then the ventilator is turned off. As the carbon dioxide level in the blood rises, this stimulates a healthy functioning brainstem to initiate a breath. If after 10 minutes the patient does not attempt to breathe, the brainstem is considered nonfunctional and dead, and the patient is declared brain dead. However, if during the test the patient's oxygen level ever drops below normal at any time, the test is aborted and the ventilator is turned back on.
No one's brain is ever "suffocated" during an apnea test. That's just ol' Paul using fallacious sensationalism at its very worst. Moreover, it did not cause any additional swelling and damage to her brain. Besides, her brain had already swelled to the point where it had lost its blood supply and died, which is why the test was being done in the first place. For anyone, especially a doctor, to claim otherwise is an outright and deliberate lie. But he goes on:
Everyone should understand that this dangerous test can only harm or even cause death of a patient.It is not a dangerous test. It can not harm, and it can not cause death. It is used to determine death. You know this, Paul. At least you should. If you don't, you have no reasonable excuse whatsoever. But he still goes on:
The apnea test is not beneficial for the patient.Of course it isn't and no one ever claimed it was. How could a test that is designed to assess death be beneficial??
I paused, took a deep breath, and plodded on, surprised I had gotten this far without rupturing an aneurysm. And as soon as I restarted I was instantly rewarded with the same stupid, erroneous argument that Dr. Byrne made before - that the ventilator can only work on a living patient. I hate using YouTube videos as evidence, but, oh what the hell:
Paul's next argument is that Jahi was "starved" for a month between the time she was declared dead until a feeding tube was placed after Jahi was moved to an undisclosed facility. While technically true, there are several things Paul fails to mention: first, the doctors had no legal or ethical requirement either to place a feeding tube or give her nutrition once she was declared dead, and second, humans can go weeks without food without starving as long as they are adequately hydrated (which Jahi was). Three strikes you're out, right?
HAHA no, he wasn't quite finished.
Paul then says that her heart has beaten 60 million times since she was declared brain dead, which must mean she's alive. As I've said here before, hearts don't need bodies (or life) to beat. Don't believe me? Watch:
But after all those lies, Paul finally got to the meat of his article. The update! Finally!
Recently I visited Jahi in her home.YES! At long last, an update from someone who's actually seen her! Is she moving? Responding to her mother's voice? Opening her eyes? Tell us, Paul! Tell us!
Jahi is beautiful. The day that I visited Jahi she had on lip gloss like many teenagers. A picture of Jahi's hand joined with my hand is enclosed. Wristbands on both of us state "Jahi is alive" and "Prayer works."Wh . . . wh . . . WHAT? That's it? THAT is your update? THAT is your "proof" that Jahi is alive? That she's wearing lip gloss and someone took a picture of you holding her hand with her contracted fingers? Are you kidding me? THAT'S FUCKING IT??! Where's the convincing evidence, Paul? God damn it, where's any evidence? It's been a year and a half since she was declared dead, and this is the second time someone has tried to say she's alive without providing a whit of actual evidence.
If she were actually alive, how easy would it be to take a video of her responding to voice? How straightforward would it be to show a video of her opening her eyes? How simple would it be to prove that she followed even a simple command?
I will be the first to admit that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. The fact that these videos have not surfaced doesn't mean either A) that they don't exist, or B) that they couldn't exist. But after the media circus that Jahi's family caused surrounding her untimely and tragic death, I will also be the first to submit that were there any real evidence, her family would get it thrown up on the 6 o'clock news faster than you can say "I BELIEVE".
As for you Dr. Byrne, people expect doctors to tell them the truth, even if it hurts. It is our job, our obligation, our duty to tell people difficult truths, not comforting lies. You are an insult to your profession, your community, and most of all to yourself.