September 8, 2017
Alameda County Judge Stephen Pulido ruled Tuesday that it’s up to a jury to determine whether Jahi McMath is alive, which would increase the damages jurors could award if they determine doctors at Children’s Hospital in Oakland botched a routine operation to remove the girl’s tonsils.
In California, non-economic damages such as pain and suffering are capped at $250,000 for medical malpractice. But juries can award unlimited economic damages far above that cap for ongoing medical care, which Jahi’s family could not claim if she were declared dead.
Jahi’s case has been at the center of national debate over brain death since the girl’s mother refused to remove her daughter from life support after doctors declared the then-13-year-old dead after surgery in December 2013.
Image: By Blcksx – I took this photograph while visiting Riverside, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44291738
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.