Terri Schiavo’s family has jumped on the bandwagon following 13-year-old Jahi McMath and her family’s fight to keep her “alive,” even though doctors have declared her to be clinically dead.
The Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network declared:
“Together with our team of experts, Terri’s Network believes Jahi’s case is representative of a very deep problem within the U.S. healthcare system — particularly those issues surrounding the deaths of patients within the confines of hospital corporations, which have a vested financial interest in discontinuing life,”
Jahi’s family said that it had found a facility in New York willing to take her, but the Oakland hospital “refused to agree to allow us to proceed in that matter,” according to Jahi’s uncle, Omari Sealey. The hospital, in denying the accusation, stated that it had done everything possible to help the family to transfer the body – as they referred to Jahi.
Hospital spokesman Sam Singer said:
“To date, they have been unwilling or unable to provide a physician to perform the procedures necessary, transportation, or a facility that would accept a dead person on a ventilator. Our hearts and thoughts go out to them in this tragic situation, but the statements being made by their attorney and some family members are misleading and untrue.”
A judge has also declared Jahi to be brain dead, and doctors say there’s no chance she will come back to life. However, lawyer Christopher Dolan, acting for the family, accused the hospital of being “hell bent” on ending Jahi’s life.
A judge had told the hospital that it could disconnect the life-support machines after 5 pm (8 pm ET). However, he later extended his order to 5 pm (8 pm ET) on January 7.
Terri Schiavo died in 2005, two weeks after doctors removed the feeding tube that had kept her alive. Her husband mounted a legal battle which lasted 15 years to arrive to that point. Schiavo’s parents had opposed his action and fought in the Florida courts to keep her on life support.
Following her death, the family created the Life & Hope Network. Bobby Schindler, Terri Schiavo’s brother and executive director of the organization, issued a statement which said: “Families and individuals must make themselves aware of what so-called ‘brain death’ is and what it is not. Every person needs to understand that medical accidents happen every day. Families and individuals must be more aware of the issue of accountability and patient rights.”
In December, Jahi had surgery to remove her tonsils, adenoids and extra sinus tissue. This is considered a low risk procedure, but something went wrong after she was sedated following the operation. She began bleeding, suffered a cardiac arrest, and was declared brain dead a few days later.
Hospital officials have said they cannot discuss any details about the case due to privacy requirements.
The Terri Schiavo saga lasted 15 years. Now, the intervention of the foundation established in her name will probably ensure that Jahi McMath remains on life support for an extended period.