Death is NOT a Medical Condition: PART ONE

On December 12th, 2013, thirteen-year-old Jahi McMath died.  (I’m linking to the Dreamin’ Demon thread because it has accumulated a wealth of articles, links, and other relevant information.)

Her death occurred following three separate surgeries of the throat and nasal passages to improve sleep apnea  (including a Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty), but which the family has insisted was nothing more than a “routine tonsillectomy.”  This is not the only point on which the dead girl’s family and the hospital cannot agree.  Despite the fact that this girl has been declared brain dead by six different physicians — two hospital-based, three independent, and one court-appointed — the family is insisting she be treated as if she were still alive.

“They told me without your brain, you can’t take your own breath, well, she’s trying, so that means something’s working.”

Yeah, Mom — it’s called a ventilator.

Have I mentioned that the maternal grandmother is a nurse?

Mom’s first move was to take the hospital to court, insisting she be kept on life support.  On December 20th, a judge granted a temporary restraining order against the hospital to allow the family to seek yet another opinion.  Yes, that’s right; while the corpse was being kept hooked up to life support at the hosptial’s expense (because insurance does not cover the dead), a judge issued a restraining order against them, citing “a lack of trust” between parties.  This allowed Mom time to seek out an alternative opinion.  She found that opinion all right, in the form of Dr. Paul A. Byrne.

Dr. Byrne is a neonatologist and author of multiple books on how brain death is not death.  He is the founder of the Life Guardian Foundation, whose mission statement is “To protect and preserve God-given life from its conception to its natural end.”  Furthermore, he is opposed to organ donation and transplantation and believes the only “true death” is the one defined by the Catholic Church, citing 14th century rulings to make his case.

Not surprisingly, Byrne’s professional opinion was that the girl was still alive.  The hospital responded by pointing out Dr. Byrne’s ideological agenda, that neonatology is not neurology, and the fact that he never actually examined the body.

Fortunately, the judge ruled on Christmas Eve that he was sufficiently convinced that the corpse was in fact a corpse (what tipped you off, chum?) and that it could be disconnected from life support as early as Monday, December 30th.

But mom was not yet done — not by a long shot.  She then went to the media and declared her intention to move her daughter’s body to a nursing home.  On December 26th, the family claimed that they had found the corpse a new home:

“They told us there is a bed, they care for children like her all the time.  They believe they can provide her with care and support and treat her as if she’s a living person.”

A facility full of dead kids?  That’s a little hard to believe.  What’s even more difficult to believe is their claim that insurance would cover the cost of the dead girl’s “care.”

But in order for the corpse to be moved to this unnamed facility, Children’s Hospital Oakland would first need to perform a trachiotomy and implant a feeding tube, which they are not prepared to do for a fucking corpse:

“Children’s Hospital Oakland does not believe that performing surgical procedures on the body of a deceased person is an appropriate medical practice.”

(Perhaps if Mom had been a little nicer…?)  Though the hospital  initially refused to even consider transferring the corpse to another facility, they reversed their decision the very next day (December 27th), advising Mom of three prerequisites for transfer:

(1) Identify the facility she claimed had agreed to accept the body.

(2) Make arrangements for transport.

(3) Obtain approval from the county coroner — which is a legal requirement.

I’m guessing the hospital attorneys figured that by giving Mom a project, she’d stay the hell out of the way — undoubtedly realizing that such a transfer would be legally impossible anyway.

In the state of California, only hospitals, coroners, and morticians are licensed to transfer corpses.  Exemptions may be issued by the coroner’s office, but according to California Health and Safety Code 7355:

“the bodies of persons who have died from any cause shall not be received for transportation by a common carrier unless the body has been embalmed and prepared by a licensed embalmer and placed in a sound casket and enclosed in a transportation case.”

Later that day, the family claimed that the unnamed facility had “backed out” of the agreement after learning Children’s Hospital’s position on the situation.  (What, that the “patient” is dead?)  They then claimed that there were two more potential facilities lined up — one in California and the other in New York.

Mom then went ahead and set up an account with GoFundMe.com, seeking to raise $20,000 to have her daughters corpse airlifted… well… somewhere:

“I was just informed that the hospital my daughter was going to be airlifted to has backed out due to lack of Cooperation from Children’s Hospital Oakland.”

“The hospital my daughter was going to be lifted to.”  And yet the family has repeatedly claimed that the body was going to be transferred to a nursing home.  This is a crucial distinction to make!  By no means do I think this was a simple typo, because saying the body was going to a nursing facility would only continue to hurt her case, wheras claiming that it was a hospital makes the fund seem legitimate.  As I’ve already pointed out, Californian hospitals can transport non-embalmed corpses, but nursing facilities cannot.  I would not be surprised if the family’s attorney advised her to refer to explained the benefits of referring to the facility as a hospital.

So exactly was going to airlift the body?  Certainly not Children’s Hospital.  Mom is clearly lying about the airlift, and that isn’t all she’s lying about — but let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.  As of writing this, Mom has managed to raise $21,966 — a value which is steadily increasing.

I want to know where the $20,000 figure came from.  I Googled “how much does it cost to airlift a patient,” and the first hit I came up with was Yahoo Answers, which suggested a flat $20,000.  (How much do you wanna bet that Mom did the exact same thing?)  The family claimed that one of the new facilities they were considering was located in California, while the other was in New York.  Did Mom honestly expect a helicopter ride to New York to cost the same as a ride within the state of California?

Moreover, I’d love to know how Mom expects the body to be airlifted out of there.  Does she plan to bribe the hospital?  Fat chance of that.  She’d have to go with a private carrier, which means that in order to airlift the body anywhere, it would first need to be embalmed.  Again, how will Mom manage to accomplish the airlift?  Perhaps a better question would be, What does Mom really plan on doing with that money?

On Sunday, December 29th, Mom claimed that one of the two facilities had agreed to take her daughter’s corpse, but that it has since backed out because of Children’s Hospital’s “interference”:

“I just found out that the facility my daughter was supposed to be going to has backed out!  Children’s hospital has once again interfered with the placement of my daughter we still have a chance at 1 more facility so let us all pray.”

Donations soared after Mom posted this on the GoFundMe page.  She doesn’t specify whether it was the California or the New York facility which backed out as a result of the hospital’s bullying, but that doesn’t really matter much anyway because the bitch is lying through her teeth.

After Mom’s latest GoFundMe post, Children Hospital Oakland decided they’d had enough.  The hospital’s attorney issued a statement which included an open letter to the family’s attorney.  The statement reviewed the three preconditions to transferring the corpse (a facility, transportation, and  coroner’s permission), not one of which Mom appears to have taken seriously.  Not only has Mom failed to contact the coroner’s office and come up with some sort of a transport plan (which isn’t really possible),  the letter has made a rather shocking revelation, one which explicitly contradicts several of Mom’s claims and casts doubt onto many, many more:

“To date, there has been no communication from any facility named by you regarding a transfer or requirements for transfer with any of the medical professionals at Children’s. The family has not identified any facility with which Children’s can have this dialogue.”

Reread that last quote from Mom about how Children’s Hospital “once again interfered.”  When she isn’t denying the facts, she’s pulling them out of her ass!

At this point, I think Mom is simply looking for attention and to cash in on her daughter’s corpse.  She’s upset about the death of her daughter and feels she deserves recompense.  She exhibits a pattern of lashing out against the very people who are trying to help her: accusing the doctors of insensitivity and essentially killing her daughter, conning benevolent morons out of more than $20k, and I’m now convinced that she’s simply trolling Children’s Hospital as a means of punishing them for the girl’s death:

“They have not given me a reason yet of why she went into cardiac arrest. They haven’t even given me a reason for her bleeding.  They haven’t given me a reason that they couldn’t stop the bleeding,” she said. “The only thing they keep pushing for me is to get her off their ventilator.

Because you won’t let them do an autopsy, you fucking moron!

Mom has been lying from the very start:

1. She lied about the operation being a routine tonsillectomy.

2. Odds are good that she either lied about the three unnamed facilities or else she lied to the facilities, which would account for why two of them have apparently backed out and why she doesn’t want the hospital in contact with any of them.

3. She was almost certainly lying about long-term care for a corpse being covered by insurance.

4. She clearly lied about a plan to airlift the corpse to that first facility.

5. She’s repeatedly lied about Children’s Hospital “interfering” with the corpse’s “placement.”

6. She’s clearly lying about what she plans to do with the GoFundMe money.

Even if Mom were to succeed in transporting her daughter’s corpse to some nice, cushy nursing home without violating California law, she would be guilty of a misdemeanor the moment the body was deposited.  According to California Health and Safety Code section 754(b):

 “every person who deposits or disposes of any human remains in any place, except in a cemetery, is guilty of a misdemeanor.”

Thankfully even California has some pretty solid laws against leaving dead bodies lying around; now if only people would acknowledge them.

The corpse is scheduled to be removed from life support at 5:00 pm this evening — that’s 8:00 pm EST.  I’d not be surprise if it’s further delayed, as the family’s attorney has been hinting about seeking a Federal injunction.  But even if the removal goes through as planned, we won’t be seeing the last of Mom.  I’ve no doubt she’ll be suing Children’s Hospital for botching this “routine tonsillectomy” that wasn’t actually a routine tonsillectomy.

7 thoughts on “Death is NOT a Medical Condition: PART ONE

  1. Me thinks the longer she can keep the child in limbo the more money she can raise for “transport”. Meanwhile she has her freaky nails done.

    • Agreed. And the longer Mom keeps it up, the longer the hospital is forced to suffer, which is ultimately what she’s after — besides the money, of course.

      It can cost up to $4k a day to keep someone on life support, and that’s just the cost of the EQUIPMENT; it doesn’t take into account other considerations like the staffing necessary to maintain the equipment, feeding supplies, etc… not to mention the egregiousness amount of attorney and court fees involved in this case, and the fact that there is one less bed available in a children’s hospital for the next critically-ill child.

  2. wow – thank you for the complete analysis of this situation. as a “reformed” medical professional who sampled all areas of the nursing profession in a former life….I am just absolutely dumbstruck. and I did psych from pedi to geri and all the additions and psychoses in between.

      • i can’t put this story down. like i really hate “the holidays” since i’m all alone in the world now as a “senior” and don’t have a rats ass about friends…lol .. I hate the autocorrect feature of these comment sections. I can’t believe the TOTAL INSANITY of anyone involved in this fiasco. i’ll betcha that Grandma acted irresponsibly by turning on the suction – I think the whole family LIED about what occurred post op…. kid should have slept for 12 hours min with NPO assuming she had an IV drip… but ignorant people like the family don’t understand how surgery is supposed to be handled. time will tell…. I’ll bookmark you and we’ll keep up on it.

  3. First the blog is caustic.
    2nd I have be following the case since for 2 weeks. Your facts match up correctly.
    3. my sympathies for this mom have changed to disgust.
    whoever said the truth is beautiful has never met the truth.

    • I started off sympathetic to the family, but the more things developed, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

      This apparently isn’t the first time the family has lawyered up, by the way. I discovered the other night that Jahi McMath’s father previously sued the city of Oakland and the Oakland Police Department, claiming excessive use of force during an arrest. The city offered him and his co-plaintiff a $50,000 payout, which evidently put an end to the matter.

      http://oakland.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=744684&GUID=9CABCA19-D48A-41B6-B7F3-59F6D671D167

      http://clerkwebsvr1.oaklandnet.com/attachments/14806.pdf

      Moreover, Dad’s attorney (John Burris) is apparently supporting the family. He’s been documented as having attended at least one press conference:

      http://postnewsgroup.com/blog/2013/12/27/jahi-mcmath-declared-brain-dead-family-still-fighting

      We’ll have to see where this goes. Burris is a prominent civil rights attorney, though it makes sense not to have him representing the family, because that would only draw attention to Dad’s past lawsuit… on which not a single media outlet has reported.

      It also, looks like stepdad Marvin Winkfield may be under pursuit by the federal government for defaulting on student loans. Still trying to confirm that it’s the same Marvin Winkfield of Oakland.

      —–
      EDITED because I realized I’d given you the same link twice.

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