BLACK IS BACK COALITION’S POSITION STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF JAHI MCMATH
Omali Yeshitela Chairperson
Lisa Davis Chair of Health Working Group
202- 681- 7040
POSITION STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF JAHI MCMATH
The Black is Back Coalition (BIB) for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations stands with the family of Jahi McMath, a 13 year old African American child who is currently in the Childrens Hospital in Oakland on a respirator fighting for her life. We resoundingly condemn the actions of hospital administrators such as the CEO, Bertram Lubin, and the Chief of Pediatrics, David Durand, who seek to take her off life support against the wishes of her family. We find their continued reference to this young woman as a corpse utterly barbaric and insensitive, and we support calls for a grand jury investigation into the hospitals mistreatment of the family and handling of this case. We also condemn Judge Evelio Grillos 12/23 declaration of her as brain dead and assert that if the state of California allows the hospital to proceed with their wishes and Jahi McMath dies, it will be state sponsored murder!
We are an international coalition comprised of organizations throughout the world who are dedicated to fighting for the freedom and upliftment of African people globally. We seek an end to all forms of oppression, racism, classism and imperialism. And to combat the medical professions racist and brutal practices of experimentation on Black people and of providing our community with inferior services, we have formed a healthcare working group whose mission is to build a strong advocacy network to protect African people against such racism, while also building a repository of research about natural and noninvasive modalities to challenge the no cure dogma of a profession that has been thoroughly compromised by a multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical industry.
Although there is a litany of reasons as to why we are against removing young Jahi McMath from life support, as the hospitals actions are vile on so many fronts, the most salient ones are as follows:
- Regardless of what the law may state, we assert that it is the sole right of the family or guardian to remove a person from life support, and that neither the hospital, nor the state, has the right to do that without their consent.
- We are against the designation of brain dead as a criteria for declaring someone as dead as it is extremely controversial and raises many bio-ethical issues, with the primary one being that it was invented in 1968 by an ad hoc committee of the Harvard Medical School as a way of expanding the pool of potential donors. This allowed modern medicine a way of legally getting healthy living organs from living bodies and has resulted in doctors putting extreme pressure on family members to quickly pull the plug on loved ones without giving them a fighting chance and the necessary time to recover. This is exactly what is happening with Jahi McMath, as we believe that the hospital’s push to take her off life support is about harvesting her organs.
The brain death designation has also resulted in the passage of bad laws throughout the US in which decisions about continuing life support have been taken away from the family and have been left solely to the discretion of the hospital or state. Such is the case in California. These laws need to be changed!
Moreover, there is no uniformity among medical professionals as to what constitutes brain death. In fact, in 2008 the highly respected New England Journal of Medicine published an article by Drs. Robert Troug and Franklin Miller, two proponents of organ transplantation, argued that under the criteria of brain death and heart death, many of these patients might not be dead at all. Furthermore, brain death does not necessarily mean the death of the entire brain and it has since been discovered that some brain function continues to exist in many people who were declared as such. However, these functions are not the ones for which doctors commonly test.
- And perhaps the most important reason of all is that there are numerous examples of people who were declared brain dead , but who awakened and fully recovered. And some of these people were minutes away from having their organs removed. Moreover, there are those within the Black is Back Healthcare Working group who work with naturopathic healing modalities who claim that the brain can heal and who have themselves witnessed the return of brain functions and movement in those who were declared brain dead.
Clearly there is no ethical reason or justification whatsoever for Jahi McMath to be removed from the ventilator against her family’s wishes and she is deserving of every opportunity to recover, including the opportunity of time.
Examples of documented cases of people who were once thought to be brain dead.
Eben Alexander Declared Brain Dead
Miracle Recovery of teen after being declared brain dead by four doctors — Steven Thorpe.
Student Declared Brain Dead wakes up. Sam Schmid
Woman in Hong Kong Recovers After Being Declared Brain Dead. (Doctors told husband there was no chance of recovery).Suzanne Chin
Zack Dunlap Declared Brain Dead and Recovered 2008 Dateline
Jill Finlay Declared Brain Dead and Wakes Up.
Haleigh Poultre 11 Year Old Declared Brain Dead and Comes Out of Coma
Miracles, Malpractice, Survival and Recovery
Caroline Burns, Misdiagnosed as Brain Dead and Wakes Up As Doctors Are About to Remove Her Organs!
65 year Old Woman Recovers After Being Declared Brain Dead
PVS 40% misdiagnosis
Physical Debates About the Definition of Death: http://www.psy.vanderbilt.edu/courses/hon182/whocares.pdf
Shes Very Much a Living Person:
Excision of Vital Organs is Imposed Death
Reconsideration of Brain Criteria Could Effect Ethics of Organ Donation