- 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: Readers react to Jahi McMath commentary
- 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
The ongoing, sad saga of Jahi McMath has had more than its share of tragic nuances, brutal, public disputes and legal machinations.
The whole episode, which is far from over (we await the virtually certain malpractice lawsuit, by the way) has been painful to follow and very tough to watch as it unfolds.
One aspect of the unsettling case, which involves a 13-year-old Oakland girl who has been declared legally brain dead in the aftermath of a tonsillectomy, has been especially troubling.
Some of the anonymous online comments about the girl, her family, her attorney and others have been simply outrageous, disturbing in the extreme and outright racist.
Certainly not all of the electronic opinions have been unsympathetic, unsupportive and unfeeling, without even a hint of empathy. But far too many have been.
These have focused on the girl's excessive weight; her mother's role in the matter; her family's African-American ethnicity and its perceived level of education, economic status and insurance coverage; the family's motives and other factors.
It has been depressing and a real eye-opener to read such venom. And it bears on something that needs to be said: Unless you have walked in that family's shoes, you have no idea what those folks are going through.
Those of us who have watched a hospitalized son or daughter struggle to survive as modern technology keeps the youngster alive can sympathize.
There might be nothing worse than seeing your own offspring lying helpless in the intensive care unit. And there's little you can do to make his or her situation better.
It's all in the hands of the doctors, nurses and technicians. Mistakes are made. Some of them are irreversible.
For the parent, or parents, the hospital room, whether it's in the ICU or otherwise, becomes an entire little world unto itself. Nothing else matters, not the weather, the stock market, politics, whatever. It's all irrelevant. The entire focus is on the child.
So, unless you have personal experience in dealing with such a horrific situation, it would be prudent and fair to cut Jahi's mother, family and supporters some slack.
We all can argue about whether postponing indefinitely what will surely be an inevitable decision to accept the reality of Jahi's death is wise and responsible.
But, at the very least, we ought to respect the magnitude of that looming reality.
An uneasy moment
During a recent memorial event for her late father, Margaret Soden Appenheimer related a personal story that resonated with the gathering of some 150 people assembled in Pacifica.
She noted that her dad, the late Jim Soden, had been her teacher when she attended Terra Nova High School in the coastal community.
That could make things a bit uneasy at times, she said. There was always a possibility of a perception of favoritism.
Once, when she received an A grade on a project (her father announced each student's grade), she blanched.
Later, her dad stated, "If you can't get an A from your father, who are you going to get it from?" Good point.
John Horgan's column appears Thursday. You can contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by regular mail at P.O. Box 117083, Burlingame, CA 94011.