OAKLAND (CBS SF)— A foundation started by Terri Schiavo’s family said it has been working with relatives of a 13-year-old California girl declared brain dead after tonsil surgery to get her transferred to a long-term care facility.
Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network, based out of New Jersey, has been working behind the scenes to help get Jahi McMath moved to a care facility.
Schiavo, who suffered brain damage after a heart attack, was at the center of a 15-year-long right-to-die struggle that ended in 2005 when her husband removed her feeding tube over objections from her parents.
Jahi underwent a tonsillectomy and related procedures at Children’s Hospital Oakland on Dec. 9 to treat sleep apnea and was declared brain dead three days later after complications.
Children’s Hospital spokeswoman Melinda Krigel said it has not heard from any facility.
Georgtown University Law Professor Gregg Bloche, an expert on health law and policy, said the two cases have much in common.
“There is simply no kind of possibility of any kind of restoration of function,” he said regarding Jahi’s case. “We can keep body tissues, to be blunt, below the neck; mostly functioning even after the brain is dead.”
Both cases illustrate the great cultural struggle about these issues partially brought on by advances in technology.
“Once you can make dead people look like living people through technology, then the hope that somebody can be brought back from the dead becomes much more powerful,” Bloche said.
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