The family of Jahi McMath is reportedly receiving advice from a group linked to Terri Schiavo as they fight to keep the 13-year-old on life support.
McMath was declared brain dead on Dec. 12 after undergoing a tonsillectomy at Children's Hospital Oakland in California. The operation was supposed to help treat McMath's sleep apnea and other issues, but during her recovery, the teen began to bleed heavily and eventually went into cardiac arrest, the Associated Press reports. Three days later she was declared brain dead.
Despite the doctors' diagnosis, McMath's family has been fighting to keep the child on life support in the hope that she may eventually recover. Now it appears the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network has quietly joined the McMaths in an effort to keep the teen on her ventilator. Indeed, the Network's website is currently filled with updates on McMath's case and features a column by conservative pundit Michelle Malkin in support of McMath's parents.
Terri Schiavo, a Florida woman who went into a coma in 1990, was at the center of protracted right-to-die battle that pitted her husband, Michael, against her parents and other family members. The acrimonious and very public fight ended in 2005 when her spouse finally removed her feeding tube.
"Together with our team of experts, Terri's Network believes Jahi's case is representative of a very deep problem within the U.S. healthcare system -- particularly those issues surrounding the deaths of patients within the confines of hospital corporations, which have a vested financial interest in discontinuing life," the group said in a prepared statement, according to CNN.
Bobby Schindler, Schiavo's brother and executive director of the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network, was also quoted in the statement.
"Families and individuals must make themselves aware of what so-called 'brain death' is and what it is not," Schindler said. "Every person needs to understand that medical accidents happen every day. Families and individuals must be more aware of the issue of accountability and patient rights."
The McMath family won a small victory on Dec. 30, after Alameda County Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo ruled that Children's Hospital Oakland must keep McMath on a ventilator until Jan. 7.