Update, 9:05 a.m. Friday: The lawyer representing Jahi McMath and her family invited reporters to his Market Street office on Thursday. The purpose: to see some of the evidence attorney Christopher Dolan says proves "irrefutably" that the Oakland teenager, declared dead last year because doctors said all brain function had ceased, is not in fact brain dead.
Here's how the Oakland Tribune's David DeBolt describes Dolan's presentation:
Two brief videos, shown on TV screens at Dolan's Market Street office, were filmed within the past month with family, Dolan and neurologists looking on, Dolan said. He insisted they were not doctored in any way and didn't allow reporters or photographers to videotape the event. ...
... In the first video Dolan showed Thursday, Jahi, who has been on various machines giving her nutrients and oxygen since December, is shown on a hospital bed with signs posted one wall. Her toenails are painted. Except for her head and feet, she is covered in blankets. Her mother, Nailah Winkfield, is at her side and asks Jahi to move her foot.
"Kick your foot Jahi," Winkfield said. "Move your foot. Come on, Jahi, we are watching. I see you wiggling your toes. Come on, Jahi you can do it. Try your hardest. I see you move your toes."
About 40 seconds later, her right foot twists upward.
"Very good Jahi. I'm proud of you," her mother can be heard saying.
In a second video, Jahi's hand moves four seconds after her mother asks her to move it and then it moves for a second time after Winkfield asks her to move it harder. Then the camera zooms out to show Winkfield standing by Jahi, whose eyes are closed. The video is about 40 seconds long.
And here's an account from the San Francisco Chronicle's Matier and Ross:
Dolan, on a speaker phone with Philip DeFina, chairman and CEO of the International Brain Research Foundation in New Jersey, said researchers had conducted brain imaging and other tests on Jahi at Rutgers University with the assistance of medical school neurologist Charles Prestigiacomo and found she had measurable brain activity.
“If the brain is dead, there is no electrical activity,” DeFina said.
Stanford bioethics Professor David McManus, who has not seen the video showing Jahi’s movements or DeFina’s findings, disputed the validity of any test that wasn’t an independent clinical exam conducted by a qualified neurologist.
“I haven’t seen any signs or evidence that they have had such an evaluation,” he said. “The rest is smoke and mirrors.”
McManus added, “Patients (found brain dead) don’t recover — it’s irreversible. That would be groundbreaking, and a dramatic finding that would be problematic for the entire neurological community.’’
McManus's note of caution -- or is it skepticism? -- is echoed by an expert quoted Friday by the Associated Press:
Arthur Caplan, head of medical ethics at New York University's Langone Medical Center, said he knows of no cases of a brain-death determination being reversed. He cautioned that the data collected on Jahi has to be examined by other researchers and experts in the field before any conclusions can be made.
"Were this to be true, it would be an earth-shattering development in understanding death," Caplan said. "They're playing a high-stakes game."
Original post (Thursday): Jahi McMath, the Oakland teenager who has been kept on mechanical support since being declared brain-dead last year, is back in the news. The lawyer representing her family has filed a petition with an Oakland judge claiming he has "irrefutable evidence that Jahi is no longer brain-dead" and demanding the judge reverse his finding that she's deceased.