Amid all the raging political headlines and hyperventilating tweets of the Summer of Resistance, a searing ember of news stopped me in my tracks this week.
Jahi McMath has passed away.
I never had a chance to meet the young California teen, but her fight for life gripped me three years ago and was never far from my mind or heart — especially as my own daughter, the same age as Jahi, battled her own health crisis.
Do you remember Jahi? Medical experts declared her “brain dead” after a routine tonsillectomy gone wrong. Children’s Hospital Oakland pushed to have all life-sustaining medical treatment terminated; the professionals predicted quick deterioration. California declared Jahi legally “brain dead.”
But Jahi’s mother, professional nurse Latasha “Nailah” Winkfield, refused to accept their verdict. As a parent, caregiver, and believer in Christ, Winkfield was compelled to protect her child. With the help of the pro-life Schiavo Foundation, Winkfield moved with her daughter to a long-term-care facility in New Jersey.
Medical-ethics scholar Wesley Smith visited Jahi with the Schiavo Foundation’s Bobby Schindler ten months ago and reported: “At the time of the tragedy, I believed . . . that Jahi was, indeed, dead. But I now have strong doubts. It’s nearly four years later, and Jahi’s body still has not broken down. . . . She has experienced no visible bodily decline. . . . Disabled is not dead.”
Dr. Alan Shewmon, professor emeritus of pediatrics and neurology at the University of California, Los Angeles, reviewed nearly 50 videos of Jahi moving her fingers on command last year and wrote in a court declaration that Jahi was “a living, severely disabled young lady, who currently fulfills neither the standard diagnostic guidelines for brain death nor California’s statutory definition of death.”
Read more at National Review.