Bioethics Blogs

Jahi McMath – A Second Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

Since March 2015, Jahi McMath’s mother has been litigating a medical malpractice lawsuit against the clinicians and hospitals that she alleges negligently injured Jahi.  The Alameda County Superior Court will hear the defendants’ demurrers to her first amended complaint on January 8, 2016.

Yesterday, Jahi McMath’s father, Milton, filed a parallel

lawsuit based on the same allegations.  Oddly, he also includes allegations about Jahi being alive (see below).  But unlike the mother’s lawsuit, these are irrelevant and unnecessary to the father’s claims for wrongful death and NIED.

32. Based upon the pediatric neurologist’s evaluation of JAHI, JAHI no longer fulfills standard brain death criteria on account of her ability to specifically respond to stimuli. The distinction between random cord-originating movements and true responses to command is extremely important for the diagnosis of brain death. JAHI is capable of intermittently responding intentionally to a verbal command.”

“33. In the opinion of the pediatric neurologist who has examined JAHI, having spent hours with her and reviewed numerous videotapes of her, that time has proven that JAHI has not followed the trajectory of imminent total body deterioration and collapsed that was predicted back in December of 2013, based on the diagnosis of brain death. Her brain is alive in the neuropathological sense and it is not necrotic. At this time, JAHI does not fulfill California’s statutory definition of death which requires the irreversible absence of all brain function, because she exhibits hypothalamic function and intermittent responsiveness to verbal commands.”

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.