Statement by Jahi McMath’s Attorney: January 21, 2014
I’ve been following the Jahi McMath story with interest since it unfolded. The family’s attorney, Christopher Dolan, made the following statement that was published only hours ago in the Los Angeles Times Opinion Section. Already it has generated 269 comments at the time of my post. Browse through some of the comments; an interesting expose of “thought provoking” remarks.
An abbreviated version appears below and link to the full article:
I am the attorney who answered a call for help from Jahi McMath’s family in December.
Despite the incendiary, hateful public rhetoric that has surrounded this case, I believe that self-interest alone should lead most Americans to thank Nailah Winkfield, Jahi’s anguished mother, for her courage.
It has been amazing to see how many people think they have a right to an opinion about this child, this mother, this family and the issues in this case.
For the most part, those who have attacked Jahi’s family argue these simplistic, uninformed points: The family is either stupid, misled by their lawyer or trying to exploit the system. Why can’t they simply accept the doctors’ decrees? Why should they be different?
What happened to Jahi at Children’s Hospital Oakland will most likely be a matter of litigation. But if you were Jahi’s mother, would you want the doctors and hospital authorities you believed had contributed to — or even caused — your child to be declared “brain dead” making final decisions about her?
Over my legal objections, Nailah Winkfield was cruelly made to go to the Alameda County Registrar of Births and Death to get a “death certificate” in order to move Jahi out of the hospital to a site where she could receive care.
Those who condemn Jahi’s family appear to have no idea that doctor-decreed “brain death” is not sufficient as a declaration of death everywhere in the United States.
In New Jersey and New York, for example, there is accommodation for those who do not accept “brain death” as the appropriate criterion.
And the rush to abrogate Nailah and Jahi’s constitutional rights is as reprehensible as the widespread ignorance about the limits of “brain death.” These rights include the 1st Amendment right to freedom of expression of religion, and the 4th and 14th amendment rights to privacy and personal liberty.
Nailah’s fight is the fight of a loving mother for her child. It is a fight for privacy in the making of a medical decision. It is a fight for a strongly held belief in the miracles and mercy promised by the Bible.
Jahi McMath’s family are brave, loving, honorable hardworking people. They are not fools. They know the odds. They want time, free from the threats of the hospital to pull the plug. They want Jahi to be somewhere where people care for her and do not call her “the body.”
Trust me, they will happily disappear from the public spotlight — if you will let them.