Brain-dead or not brain-dead? The question of Jahi McMath's health status has drifted into unknown territory now that she's been hooked up to machines for nearly eleven months, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
The 13-year-old girl, declared brain dead after a disastrous tonsillectomy in December, was found by five experts this month to have some brain activity—but a court-appointed pediatric neurologist and other doctors now say those tests are incomplete or just plain wrong.
"He points out some very serious flaws," says a health expert of comments by Paul Fisher, the court's neurologist. "The biggest takeaway is one of the bases for determining if someone satisfies the criteria for brain death is a personal examination. None [of the current doctors] have done that." Fisher is asking for another, neutral doctor to look at Jahi, while others marvel at how the case could redefine the brain-death debate.
"Right now, it is one of the very strangest" cases in recent memory, says a lawyer. "No question." Experts say that no other patient declared brain-dead has likely gone through a second round of testing, or had a family that, like Jahi's, has tried to revoke her death certificate.
Some contend that her family is seeking a new diagnosis because California will pay for her care if she's declared alive—but others note that her brain hasn't liquefied, her skin remains soft and warm, and her limbs apparently react to her mother's commands.
This article originally appeared on Newser: Experts: Brain-Dead Girl May Not Be 'Alive'
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