- Oct 3:
- Jahi McMath: Family breaks silence on brain-dead girl's condition
- Oct 2:
- Jahi McMath: Attorney shows video he says proves Oakland girl moves feet, hands at mother's commands
- Oct 1:
- Jahi McMath: Family seeks to have brain-death ruling overturned, girl declared alive
- Aug 17:
- Reports that Jahi McMath is coming home are false
- Jun 20:
- Jahi McMath: Experts say New Jersey 'best destination' for brain-dead patients
- Jun 18:
- Jahi McMath being kept at New Jersey hospital
- Jun 13:
- Jahi McMath: Brain-dead Oakland girl receives certificate from school
- Jun 12:
- Jahi McMath getting diploma for eighth grade, family says
- Jun 11:
- Jahi McMath: Family pushing school to grant brain-dead teen's diploma
- Mar 13:
- Jahi McMath: Family calls state report 'B.S.'; new medical record details emerge
- Jahi McMath: State releases report on Children's Hospital Oakland's handling of patients
- Feb 27:
- Jahi McMath's family to get award from Terri Schiavo foundation
- Feb 19:
- Jahi McMath: Complete text of letter from brain-dead girl's mother
- Jahi McMath 'much better,' her mother says
- Feb 1:
- Jahi McMath: Is it safe to have tonsil surgery at Children's Hospital Oakland?
- Jan 27:
- Jahi McMath video claims to show her feet and toes move
- Jan 25:
- Jahi McMath: five similar brain death legal cases
- Jahi McMath: Could her case change how California determines death?
- Jan 17:
- John Horgan: Don't be too quick to judge Jahi McMath's family
- Jan 9:
- Jahi McMath: Medical experts say organ failure inevitable
- Jan 7:
- Jahi McMath: Streetfighting lawyer takes heat, death threats for brain-dead Oakland girl's family
- Jan 6:
- Jahi McMath: Family says brain-dead teen's body may be too deteriorated to save
- Document: Medical analysis of Jahi McMath's deteriorating condition
- Jahi McMath: Brain-dead girl moved to undisclosed care facility
- Jan 5:
- Jahi McMath: Brain-dead teen's family moves her from Children's Hospital Oakland
- Jahi McMath: Timeline of events in case of brain-dead Oakland teen
- Jahi McMath: 13-year-old brain-dead Oakland girl moved by family from hospital
- Jan 3:
- Jahi McMath: Mom can remove brain-dead daughter from hospital, judge rules
- Jan 2:
- Jahi McMath: Case heads to federal court Friday
- Jan 1:
- Jahi McMath family spends first day of 2014 searching for doctor to help get teen to New York facility
- Dec 31:
- Document: Hospital decries Jahi McMath family's wishes to keep her on ventilator
- Jahi McMath may be transferred to treatment center in New York
- Jahi McMath: Terri Schiavo group secretly leading transfer efforts
- Jahi McMath: Hospital fights in court to remove brain-dead girl from ventilator
- Dec 30:
- Jahi McMath: Judge's order keeping girl on ventilator reinvigorates family
- Jahi McMath: Judge extends order keeping girl on ventilator
- Dec 29:
- Jahi McMath: Statement of Children's Hospital Oakland
- Jahi McMath: Mom and lawyer say only remaining option for brain-dead girl is a New York care facility
- Dec 28:
- Jahi McMath: Family, attorney release letter addressing critics
- Jahi McMath: Family trying to raise money to get 13-year-old airlifted out of state
- Dec 27:
- Jahi McMath: Hospital open to transferring brain-dead teen but won't perform surgery required by admitting facilities
- Jahi McMath: Children's Hospital Oakland agrees to release brain-dead girl to long-term care
- Contra Costa Times editorial: No one recovers from being brain dead
- Dec 26:
- Jahi McMath: Family ready to move brain-dead girl to new facility; hospital may refuse surgery request
- Jahi McMath: Family says they'll move brain-dead girl to another Bay Area facility
- Dec 25:
- Jahi McMath: Family tries to have normal holiday celebration in hospital waiting room
- Dec 24:
- Lost in the divisive battle over Jahi McMath is a mother's undeniable love
- Jahi McMath: Judge denies petition to keep girl on ventilator past Dec. 30
- Dec 23:
- Jahi McMath: Judge extends order to keep brain-dead girl on ventilator
- Dec 22:
- Faith leaders call on prosecutors to investigate Jahi McMath case
- Oakland: Need for tonsillectomies in question
- Dec 21:
- Jahi, her mom and 13 days at Children's Hospital Oakland
- Jahi McMath: Medicine's ability to keep a heart beating complicates how death is perceived
- Oakland: Emotional letter from Jahi McMath's mom to keep daughter 'warm'
- Dec 20:
- Oakland: Judge grants restraining order keeping Jahi McMath on ventilator through Monday
- Family of Oakland girl on ventilator furious after meeting with hospital officials
- Dec 19:
- Family of girl left brain dead at Children's Hospital Oakland demands medical records
- Dec 18:
- Jahi McMath prayer vigil: "God knows we want a miracle"
- Family of Oakland girl on life support after tonsil surgery calls for international prayer vigil
- Dec 16:
- Family furious, hospital investigating after tonsil surgery leaves girl brain-dead
- Oakland: Girl declared brain dead after tonsil surgery may be taken off life support Tuesday
- Oakland girl, 13, declared brain-dead after tonsil surgery
Last week's column regarding the tragic case of Jahi McMath generated a considerable amount of reaction, all of it thoughtful, some of it provocative. There was none of the irrational and hateful commentary that has been present in some responses found in other electronic media sites over the last month.
The 13-year-old girl in question, declared brain-dead but kept on life-support systems nonetheless on the order of her family, died after a tonsillectomy went terribly bad. The aftermath has been unsettling, emotional, sometimes confrontational and intensely sad.
It was the view in this corner that the girl's family members deserve to be given the benefit of the doubt, particularly if you haven't walked in their shoes and endured a similarly traumatic situation involving a child.
Dr. Marty Klein, a Palo Alto psychologist, responded with a slightly different take. He wrote that, although he does most definitely sympathize with the family members and empathizes with the loss of an innocent child, he does not feel the ensuing unseemly public spectacle, encouraged and exacerbated by the family's attorney, has served them well. Here are some of his comments:
"Your column misses the essential point of reasonable people who are disturbed by the McMath family's behavior and media coverage of it. I can easily emphasize with the family's grief. And I don't deny them any adult expression of it. But these people refuse to deal with their grief in an adult way. They have lost a child but refuse to acknowledge this.
—...This is what I and many others find pathetic -- adults who refuse to acknowledge painful reality, which all of us are eventually forced to do...Whether they hear voices from God or voices from Napoleon, this family's continued temper tantrum sullies all of us who deal with tragedy, loss and the unfairness of the universe.
—...By insisting on speaking to the media daily, by keeping an attorney who insists on speaking to the media daily, they are inviting judgment and ridicule...To repeat, I empathize with their grief and I harshly judge their behavior."
Another reader, Susan Miller, has her own opinion. To wit:
"I feel such pain for those loved ones watching on the sidelines, not knowing what happened, what to do and how to let go of their precious child. Your response resonated with me because, about seven years ago, my daughter was hospitalized a few days before Christmas.
—...When I thought of this family struggling, I remember how I came home after she finally came out of her coma to the cookie dough that stayed too long in the refrigerator, the dried-out Christmas tree and the knee-high backyard grass.
—...When Jahi's hospital wanted to pull the plug on a child patient right before Christmas, I felt it was a cold move and cynically wondered if they were trying to cover up something with their action. If I were to judge anyone in this case, it would be the hospital.
—...While we were in the hospital, we met some wonderful, intelligent, brave and helpful people. But we also met a lot of clueless people at all levels.
—...Thank you again for asking the public to reserve judgment."
John Horgan's column appears Thursday. You can contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org by regular mail at P.O. Box 117083, Burlingame, CA 94011.