Bioethics Blogs

Jahi McMath – Amicus Brief from 4 Medical Associations

The Jahi McMath state medical malpractice action remains on appeal.  The medical defendants want the Court of Appeals to reverse the trial court’s denial of their demurrers to the first amended complaint.  They do not want the McMath family to have even the opportunity to prove that Jahi is now alive. 


Last month, an amicus brief was filed on behalf of the California Medical Association, California Dental Association, California Hospital Association, and the American Medical Association.  They argue that they have:

“a strong interest in correcting the Superior Court’s decision allowing collateral attack of a determination of brain death, because it undermines the determination of death and brain death
that is accepted within the medical community, incorporated into the law, and routinely relied on by healthcare professionals.

“The determination of brain death must be conclusive, at least as to providers and facilities involved in McMath’s care, and the family certainly should not be permitted to attack that adjudicated fact under the auspices of a personal injury lawsuit. Everyone involved must be afforded finality and confidence that, years later, they can rely on a final court order and judgment determining that McMath’s brain ceased to function in December 2013.”

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.