Bioethics Blogs

California Attack on Brain Death Law (Israel Stinson)

The Israel Stinson case now looks a lot like the Jahi McMath case.  

In a recently filed amended complaint against the State of California the family alleges:

“26. Ms. Fonseca has knowledge of other patients who had been diagnosed as brain dead, using the same criteria as in her son’s case. In some of those cases, where the decision makers were encouraged to consent to the withdrawal of life support, the patients emerged from legal brain death to where they had cognitive ability and some even fully recovering. Such cases are fully medically documented.”

“38.  Despite an official determination that Israel Stinson is dead, the child has shown movement in direct response to the voice and touch of his mother.”

“39.  Since the issuance of the Certificate of Death, three physicians, independent of Kaiser and UC Davis, have given their medical judgment that this child is in fact alive.”

“45. As of the filing of this Second Amended Complaint the child is increasingly having more purposeful movements. In addition to the prior movements that he had at Kaiser in April, he now moves his arms, hands, legs and toes. Further, these movements are not random. They occur primarily in response to voices and music. A song that the child knows was played. He begins to move at the sound of the music.”

“49. Plaintiff is informed and believes and thereon alleges that the definition of death is fallacious. In essence, the presupposition is that the cessation of all functions of the entire brain – including the brain stem – is per se irreversible. However, Plaintiff is informed and believes and thereon alleges that brain waves return in rare cases after having disappeared.

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.