Days before her throat and sinus surgery to treat her sleep apnea, thirteen-year-old Jahi McMath had an eerie premonition that once anesthetized in the operating room, she would never wake up again. After her surgery on December 9, 2013 at Children’s Hospital Oakland (CHO), Jahi’s mother found her daughter in ICU bleeding profusely from her nose and mouth. The nurses told the worried mother that Jahi’s bleeding was normal and that it was her and Jahi’s grandmother’s job to control it.
When the blood began pouring off the bed onto the floor and Jahi started going into cardiac arrest, it was already too late. CHO declared Jahi brain dead three days later and moved to pull the plug on her ventilator. On Christmas Eve, Alameda County Judge Evelio Grillo ruled that CHO could pull the plug on Jahi against her parents’ wishes on December 30. The McMath family’s appeal of this ruling moved the deadline to January 7, 2014.
After battling with shifting and impossible-to-meet demands from the hospital, it finally took a hearing on January 3 to get the coroner to declare Jahi dead with no listed cause and release her to her mother as if to be sent to a funeral home for burial or cremation. On January 5, Jahi was transported to an unnamed Catholic facility because of death threats made against her family and family’s attorney. An online campaign raised more than double the $20,000 necessary to complete the transfer where doctors installed breathing and feeding tubes.
“Well, so what?” you ask. “The girl was the victim of a freak accident and such things happen, right?” It turns out that there’s another little girl in the Bay Area named Rebecca Jimenez who walked into CHO a little more than two years ago for a tonsillectomy to treat her sleep apnea and, like Jahi, never walked out again under her own control.
Eight-year-old Rebecca, like Jahi, was happy-go-lucky and a good student at her Rodeo, California school. After surgery, Rebecca had a ghastly appearance. She was pale, cold to the touch with lifeless eyes, confused, and complaining about pain. The nurses told her mother everything was fine, gave Rebecca some morphine, and loaded her onto a wheelchair and dumped her into her mom’s waiting automobile.
On the drive home, Rebecca’s mother called the hospital. Rebecca was now pale as a ghost with eyes fully rolled back into her head, with her heart thumping through her chest like a trip hammer. CHO said no big deal, call back in five hours. After Rebecca’s mother brought her back to the ER five hours later, doctors discovered massive brain swelling.
Today Rebecca cannot walk, talk, move any of her limbs, or converse with anyone because of severe brain damage. Her body is nourished through a feeding tube and she will lie in bed requiring round-the-clock care for the rest of her life. That could be a long time because Rebecca is now only eleven years old.
Putting aside the troubling questions in the McMath case of parents having to fight way too hard to get a child released from a hospital that will almost certainly be determined to have killed her, both cases raise reasonable questions about surgery, among many other options, for young children in the treatment of sleep apnea.
While there are no readily available photographs of Rebecca online, there are several of Jahi, including at least one taken right before her surgery. They reveal that she was significantly overweight for a girl her age. Since many sleep-apnea sufferers are overweight and losing weight has proven to be one of the most effective treatments, was a weight-loss regimen recommended and even attempted?
What was Jahi’s diet like? Sodas, burgers, pizza, chips, and other processed foods? If so, imagine what a few changes the parents could have undertaken to avoid all this. In press photos, Jahi’s mother appears to be significantly overweight as well, so it’s not implausible that both could have been victims of the corporate state junk-food complex as well as too-often surgery-first pharmedicartel.
Who would be surprised if changes in diet and nutrition were not only never discussed with Jahi’s parents but that the only advised treatment was surgery? Only Jahi’s parents can provide definite answers to these questions, but even if this writer’s suspicions prove to be mostly true, who can doubt that the probable lessons of the McMath and Jimenez cases will ever be learned?
Sixty-two Times Worse Than Osama bin Laden Every Year
Errors in American hospitals have been estimated to cause anywhere from 44,000 to 225,000 preventable deaths each year. In his latest book, health economist John Goodman (hardly a harsh critic of the cartel) provides his middling estimate of 187,000. Think about that number for a minute: it’s a simple mean of 512 deaths per day, which is the equivalent of the 9/11 terrorist attacks (about 3,000 dead) taking place every six days for a total of sixty-two 9/11 calamities per year. This does not include about 6 million injuries and infections.
Again, think about that staggering number for a minute and all the changes from the TSA to the NSA that Americans have been subjected to because of just one 9/11.
Has there been any other industry in the history of the world that has been this prolific in killing its customers? (I am not including a version of monopoly called governments.) Not only is this carnage completely accepted among the public, but completely uncontroversial the way it never would be if suddenly one large passenger jet began crashing every day with no survivors. If the latter happened, airline and aircraft CEOs would be dragged before Congress before being prosecuted.
The left-progressive establishment—the champion of the little guy and gal, remember?—doesn’t dare touch the issue because in the end they know that they can’t blame the carnage on the free market.
Outside of nuclear power, the medical sector is one of the most heavily regulated, from certificate-of-need boards on the local level that carve up each county among a few politically favored hospitals, to state medical boards, to the FDA, the CDC, to medical-school admission and accreditation being put in the hands of an AMA monopoly that has every incentive to artificially restrict entrance.
To top it off, the AMA is put in charge to not only supposedly try to figure out why there’s a physician undersupply, but to solve it as well! In this capacity it resembles the myth of “noble” Ben Bernanke tirelessly at work at the Fed fighting inflation on our behalf. The disease is the treatment, and the ingratitude of the recalcitrant serfs who don’t recognize it!
Getting back to the progressive establishment, there’s also a far more sinister process at work. Artificial scarcity, the kind that needlessly kills about 10,000 people per year on waiting lists for organ transplants, is its lifeblood.
It engenders a perverse demand for them, their central plans, their central planners, and their secular medical ethicists like Art Caplan who love to play God and declare from their state-subsidized ivory towers who should live and who should die.
Ol’ Art was probably livid that Jahi was taken from the hospital without the plug being pulled by her parents’ infinite betters in the all-knowing Infallible Priesthood of White Coat.