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the case of jahi mcmath

7 Jan

Jahi McMath was a 13 year old girl, who went in to the Oakland Children’s for a routine surgery to treat sleep apnea. Things went wrong quickly after the surgery, and, from all, accounts, the hospital didn’t handle it right. Her mom was just advised to just hold a container up her nose where it was bleeding abnormally. When the bleeding continued, her mom was handed a bucket! Shocking!!

Eventually, the young girl’s condition deteriorated until she was finally declared “brain dead”. And then the controversy started. Her family wanted to move her into long term care, while the hospital wanted to “pull the plug”. There were many more details, defining what procedures hospitals can perform on “dead” patients, and the Courts got involved.

Reading newspaper articles and various blog posts, it appears that most people are focusing on the technicality of death. They are dismissive of a mom’s guilt for taking her daughter to the operation that eventually got botched. And that is the problem. This is an emotional issue, and people are trying to close it logically. That doesn’t work. It leaves the mother feeling cheated, and fighting in the Courts. She will never get closure.

The whole point of advances in Medical Science is so to improve the quality of life. And Closure is an important part of that. What the mom needs is help in moving towards closure. It doesn’t matter if the child is brain dead. Mom is feeling guilty about having taken her to the operation in the first place. She feels helpless and frustrated at not being able to help her daughter when things went wrong. In her time of sadness and grief, she is forced to be hostile and defensive, running to Courts, dividing the nation and questioning the laws. It bought some time for the mom, in a very very conflictual way.

A better solution would have been for the Hospital to make-up for the post-operative neglect. They should have helped the mom move her daughter to a long term care facility. Provided some caring, sympathetic, hospice care until mom came to terms with her loss. It would have taken 1-2 weeks. And that path would have been kind and compassionate, making amends for the mistakes that happened. That would have been a private and dignified path for the young girl that was deceased.



believe the theory that gives you peace

8 Sep

“Believe the theory that gives you peace and reject the one that causes you pain. Why believe in a theory if it causes you unhappiness?”

~ Neelkanth, in “The Secret of the Nagas”