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A debate that is not so foreign to this nation has risen again due to the case of Jahi McMath. Should a person that has been declared brain dead be kept alive?
Many people are familiar with the story by now. As NBC reports, McMath underwent a tonsillectomy on December 9. After she woke up she began bleeding through her nose and other orifices and later went into cardiac arrest. She was declared brain dead and her family has been fighting to keep her on life support for practically a month.
Jahi remains on a ventilator and it continues to raise questions in the minds of many Americans. Does being brain dead mean that you’re dead?
Doctors generally consider dead one of two things: your heart stops beating or your brain loses all function. According to CNN, someone that is brain dead may appear very alive. Jahi’s skin may be warm to the touch, she may be breathing and her heart may still be beating, but her brain is no longer functioning.
"We are aware of Jahi McMath's dire situation, and we are willing to open our outpatient facility to provide 24-hour care," said Allyson Scerri, founder of New Beginnings Community Center. "Her brain needs time to heal." Unless McMath was misdiagnosed as being brain dead, experts say that she will never recover.
In making a ruling that a child is brain dead, doctors are required to use established criteria and there must not be any conflict of interest. No one that has ever been diagnosed as brain dead has survived.
Because McMath has been declared dead, insurance will not cover the roughly $7,500 a day that is needed to keep her alive. For now her family has taken her to a facility that remains undisclosed to help her recover.
But, will there be a recovery for Jahi? The debate continues: is there life after brain death?