Death is NOT a Medical Condition: PART TWO

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CLICK HERE to read part one: Death is Not a Medical Condition


The body of thirteen-year-old Jahi McMath was scheduled to be removed from “life support” (or more appropriately, ‘decomposition inhibition‘) at 5:00 pm PST on Monday.  I don’t think anyone was overly shocked when the judge — whose rulings have suggested that he too may be suffering from a slight case of brain death — granted the family’s petition for an extension on the restraining order against Children’s Hospital Oakland.  The hospital must now keep the corpse hooked up until 5:00 pm PST on January 7th, 2014, thus denying a bed and life-saving technology to the next critically ill child.

What’s it going to take, motherfucker?  Another kid to die because a ventilator wasn’t available?  The hospital is, of course, still expected to foot the bill, which at this point is likely reaching into the hundreds of thousands.

That’s right, folks; a cadaver is receiving “medical care,” which millions of Americans cannot afford because their monthly premiums are too high (plans in my state run as high as $1,300), their annual deductibles are outrageous (mine is $4,500), their coverage is limited (I’m currently fighting to get my son’s school epi-pen refilled), or because they do not have any health insurance whatsoever.  How many of us regularly opt out of going to the doctor when we’re sick or are declining medical procedures that we simply cannot afford?  You want health care in this country?  Go fucking die.  (No, really.)

But I digress.

The family claimed that they had found a New York “hospital” which was willing to take the corpse, and the judge proved mentally inept enough to believe them.  But in fact, this so-called “hospital” does not yet even exist.

The Brendan House will be located in Suffolk County New York and offer residential treatment to patients with catastrophic brain injuries.  What the family and its attorney neglected to tell the judge is that construction of this facility only began this past October, and they are not expected to open their doors before April 2014.  The facility’s own website indicates that they have raised less than half the money needed in order to complete the project.  According to their Facebook page, as of December 22nd, they had finally finished installing the windows.  (No word on when/how they intend to procure decomposition-inhibiting equipment and hire a staff.)

You’re probably wondering what the hell kind of brain trauma center would fail to make the distinction between brain injuries and death.  NBC’s local affiliate reports:

Scerri’s website biography states she owned a beauty salon and then became a “leader in the health field began years ago when she started a support group for women with infertility problems.” The site said she opened the center when her father suffered a TBI in a motorcycle accident. Steve Scerri is listed as the vice president of the company; his past business experience includes founding a cemetery center and three self-storage facilities.

Well, that explains a lot.

The family has announced their plans to contract a private jet to transport the body to New York.  When?  Who the fuck knows.  But one thing is certain; it isn’t going to happen.

As previously mentioned, the state of California only licences hospitals, mortuaries, and coroners to transfer dead bodies.  Special permits may be obtained from the coroner’s office, yet state law dictates that corpses transported by private carriers must first be embalmed.  Moreover, the family has yet to obtain written permission from the coroner’s office, despite the attorney’s claims to the contrary.

In other words, they plan to illegally move the corpse.  Now I’m no legal expert, but it seems to me that we’re looking at the following violations of California law:

California Health and Safety Code section 7355:

(a) Except as provided in subdivision (b), 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.

(b) A dead body, which cannot be embalmed or is in a state of decomposition, shall be received for transportation by a common carrier if the body is placed in an airtight metal casket enclosed in a strong transportation case or in a sound casket enclosed in an airtight metal or metal-lined transportation case.

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.”

In addition to facing charges in the state of California, everyone involved in this madness — the family, the attorney, and any transport company stupid enough to help them — would be faced with similar charges under New York law:

New York State Code Section 4200:

Except in the cases in which a right to dissect it is expressly conferred by law, every body of a deceased person, within this state, shall be decently buried or incinerated within a reasonable time after death.

Now ask yourself this: do you really think the family and its attorney are serious about moving this body, or could they possibly have ulterior motives?  I’d say that question is sort of a no-brainer… or a dead-brainer.  (Sorry!)

Possible reasons for this charade:

1. Money.  Mom nearly doubled her takings within twenty-four hours of the judge’s ruling.  As of New Year’s Eve, she’d managed to score $40, 570.  (Remind me to start my own GoFundMe account… mama needs a new mattress.)

2. Publicity.  By mouthing off to the media, both the family and its attorney are setting the stage for an emotional distress lawsuit against the hospital, to be served up cold along with the inevitable malpractice suit.  They’re hoping to rack up pity points with the public — Poor Mom, she’s done everything she could; those mean ol’ doctors! —  while they in fact sit around with their thumbs up their asses and dollar signs in their eyes.

3. Popularity.  Have you seen the sorts of idiots who’ve come out in support of Mom en masse?  Of course you have.  The scheming bitch is enjoying her status as a national celebrity.  As long as the judge continues to allow her to preserve her daughter’s corpse using expensive equipment that was intended to save lives, she’ll remain a champion of the epsilon semi-morons and the right-to-lifers.  (The notion of a corpse having a “right to life” makes me think of this scene from Life of Brian.)

4. Revenge.  Mom has made it abundantly clear that trolling the hospital is high on her agenda.  Her daughter is dead, and she wants someone to blame.  (Never mind her own part in all of this — or the part she may have played — I’ll get to that soon.)  The entire family has set out to smear the reputation of Children’s Hospital Oakland, lying through their teeth about the hospital actively interfering with their plans to move the body, when in fact they have no plan.

5. Guilt.  The surgeries Jahi McMath underwent were high risk and questionable in their effectiveness.  They were entirely elective.  (More on that in a moment.)

6. Possible Smokescreen.  And now we get down to what may truly be the heart of this matter.

As stated before, despite nearly every media outlet having reported the operation preceding the girl’s death to have been a routine tonsillectomy, she had in fact undergone three separate elective procedures to address her sleep apnea:

An adenotonsillectomy; a uvulopalatopharyngloplasty, or UPPP, which is tissue removal in the throat; and submucous resection of bilateral inferior turbinates, which is nasal obstruction.

 Unlike a “routine tonsillectomy,” an adenotonsillectomy involves removing the adenoids along with the tonsils.

In addition to lying about the “routine tonsillectomy,” the family has attempted to hide behind HIPPA legislation to conceal the truth and further attack the hospital for botching something so simple as a tonsillectomy.

Jahi McMath was morbidly obese, which was likely the cause of her sleep apnea in the first place.  (Why choose a healthy lifestyle  for your kid when there’s the quick-fix of surgery, right?)  But what I find astounding is that Mom chose this surgery while undoubtedly aware that Jahi’s obesity would have put her at significant risk for complications.  In fact, at least one of these surgeries — the uvulopalatopharyngloplasty — has been demonstrated virtually ineffective for obese patients.  Are you going to tell me diet and exercise weren’t an option?

After the surgeries, Jahi would have been ordered to wait at least a full week before ingesting solid food.  Does Mom really seem the type to listen to the doctors?  Again, consider what we know:

Jahi McMath was a morbidly obese child who obviously wasn’t used to being told ‘no’ when it came to food.  Mom has refused to listen to nearly everything the hospital has told her, from the fact of her daughter’s death (which I’m sure she knows) to the steps she must take in order to transfer the body (identify a facility, arrange for transport, obtain a permit).  And if this case couldn’t get any more bizarre, Mom’s latest complaint against the hospital is that they are denying food to her daughter’s corpse:

“To watch my daughter just sit there and not have food… I’m just so happy that she is kind of a thick girl so she still looks good.  I tell her every day, ‘Jahi, you losin’ weight girl, but you still look good.’  I just think it’s inhumane to not feed my child, to not refer to her by her name, and stop us in our tracks.”

If she’s eager to feed her daughter post-mortem, what does this suggest about the likelihood of her having fed the girl post-op?  I think it’s highly possible that Jahi, already at risk for complications, was slipped a little treat by her mother sometime after the procedures.

If Children’s Hospital had suspicions to this effect, they would be noted in the girl’s medical records.  An autopsy soon after death might have easily confirmed such suspicions.  Yet the longer Mom insists upon carrying on with this dog and pony show, the lesser the chance of an autopsy determining what ultimately killed her daughter.  And I think that’s what Mom is really after.

One more thing: I nearly forgot to mention The Video.  But that’s okay, because Mom did too, until Monday.

The family now claims that the corpse is responding to its mother’s voice and touch, and that they are in possession of a video which demonstrates as much.  According to the girl’s grandmother — Mom’s mom — and a fucking nurse:

 “She’s moving her body. Her vital signs are good.”

I can’t help but be reminded of Nicholas Coke, the anencephalic that survived on Medicaid for a record three years, and the claims of it being “responsive,” particularly to its birth unit and her mother.  (Another group of morons that the media loved to coddle.)

But the fact that Grandma — a fucking nurse would have the audacity to refer to vital signs while speaking of a corpse really says a hell of a lot about these people.

Mom knows, Grandma, knows, and the lawyer (who has slipped up and referred to the corpse as a “body” on a multiple occasions) most certainly knows.  They’re merely taking advantage of all the idiots out there who are mentally incapable of distinguishing between death and a medical condition — or who otherwise refuse to do so for ideological reasons.

Bottom line: this family is vile, opportunistic, and sooner or later someone is going to have to step in and put an end to this madness.  A children’s hospital in an impoverish area is being legally coerced into wasting thousands of dollars per day and equipment which could be better put to use saving a child’s life.  Just about every aspect of this case offends basic human sensibilities, as do the morons encouraging this family with their ridiculous rallies and donations to Mom’s manicure-and-party fund.

To anyone reading this who has been foolish enough to donate: she’s laughing at you all the way to the bank.