Jahi McMath; source: Facebook support page.
This is an opinion piece, by guest write KZ, CRNA. KZ is commenting on a new post by Dr. Paul Byrne on February 7, and a post Friday, on the Keep Jahi McMath on Life support Facebook Page.
After you read the article, I would like readers to weigh in on this question. Is what Dr. Byrne doing, worse than Jahi's mother's denial? It's quite possible that Mrs. Winkfield is in clinical denial.
KZ's entry, Jahi McMath, Frequently Asked Questions, Part II, originally slated to post today, will be posted tomorrow. Sprocket.
Jahi McMath: Emotional and Spiritual Predators - by KZ
The Jahi McMath case, by nearly every description, is a violent collision of faith, delusion, manipulation, science, and medicine. The public’s attention was captured with the original headlines decrying the tragedy of a “child” undergoing a “routine” minor surgery, who is now brain dead and going to be “taken off life support” by the big, bad hospital, over the emotional pleas and disagreement of her mother and family. The manipulation of the facts by the mainstream media guaranteed that the public would pay attention to this collision. The public’s attention, over the ensuing 8 weeks, has morphed from sympathy, to confusion, to disgust, to anger, and pity.
In the beginning, there were a lot of people and groups that showed up to manipulate this vulnerable family. In turn, the family was, and is, all too willing to listen and be manipulated, in order to enable their ideas that their tragically brain dead daughter is healing, and improving every day. As of February 7, 2014, the family (or their supporters), continues to proclaim, via Facebook, that they expect a full recovery/ resurrection. They, and their supporters quote Dr. Paul Byrne. Dr. Paul Byrne continues to post essays every week or so about Jahi McMath on his site, and likewise reinforces the family’s ideas that Jahi is not dead, does not have brain death, and will recover.
Remember the mail order psychologist who popped up a few weeks ago? The one with the purportedly Ariel Sharon tested “brain wave machine”, who, incidentally, has been fired from pretty much every reputable job he ever had? So, he started his own “brain wave” institute. (You can’t be fired from your own institute, right?)
Remember the hair stylist in New York, who pretends that she runs an inpatient “facility” for brain injured patients? The one who has no “automatic doors” in her rental space building, and can’t raise the $5000 needed to buy them? The hair stylist who rents space in a building to other independent therapists, who could only be described accurately as providing services to outpatients? The one who is in the very early process of raising money to continue renovating an old house, that someday she may rent out to residents as a group home? The same stylist who was giving lots of interviews, and willing to “admit” Jahi’s body for care into her “facility”?
Is a snake oil salesman ignorant, or delusional? Is a charlatan opportunistic, cunning, and manipulative? Or is a charlatan simply a misunderstood genius? Perspective is everything.
Dr. Paul Byrne is a now-elderly man who trained as a physician 6 decades ago. He has spent the bulk of his career alternately denying the existence of brain death, with proselytizing that brain death was created as a profound evil, to fuel the bigger evil of enabling lifesaving organ donation. He strongly disagrees with organ donation, according to his prolific writings. He is also, in my opinion, an opportunistic emotional and spiritual predator. He has glommed on to Jahi McMath’s sad situation, and every 2 weeks or so puts out another essay about how much Jahi’s mother loves her (true, I am certain), and how Jahi is not really dead. Because her heart beats. And for some reason, he assumes her hypothalamus is “working”, because her body hasn’t yet assumed complete algor mortis. Does he understand the concept of brain death and poikilothermia?
Paul Byrne’s ideas are peculiar in the extreme among mainstream scientists and medical professionals. This is a man who professes to be a medical doctor, who appears to not understand what is routinely taught in basic high school level biology classes and labs. This is a MEDICAL DOCTOR, who denies the existence of brain death, and spinal reflexes, and reinforces to Jahi’s family that these reflexes are a sign of brain function, healing, and improvement. This is a medical doctor who presumably does not understand that a heart can continue to beat OUTSIDE the body of its owner. This is a medical doctor who apparently believes that the affinity of hemoglobin for oxygen across a semipermeable membrane is more mystical than scientific, and that the inflating of dead lungs by a ventilator is equivalent to “life,” because oxygen exchange can take place. For more than 25 years blood substitutes have been researched, and even a synthetic artificial hemoglobin molecule is capable of exchanging oxygen. That doesn’t make it alive.
As profoundly odd as all that is on a personal level, it pales in comparison to what Paul Byrne has done preying upon the tragedy of Jahi McMath. In my opinion, he is an opportunistic emotional and spiritual predator which is far worse than simply having personal ideas that clash with the mainstream. His peculiar and singularly personal blend of pseudo science, intermingled with his own personal brand of mysticism and Catholicism, denies biological certainties, and has enabled the voluntary delusions of a large mass of people who support Jahi’s mother’s delusions that Jahi will be resurrected.
I would pity this man’s delusions, if I were not so disgusted by his predatory and opportunistic exploitation of the emotionally and intellectually vulnerable. If he were simply a regular member of public, or even a faith-based personality, I might cut him some slack. But this man proclaims his non-scientific based beliefs, while simultaneously cloaking himself with the mantle of his MD degree to attempt to lend validity to his beliefs. And while posting regular essays about Jahi McMath—and THAT is a whole different ball game. That is exactly the line where he has crossed from simply “holding” his beliefs, into predatory exploitation of a vulnerable family, and those intellectually vulnerable people who support the family’s delusions.
Paul Byrne is actively enabling this family to avoid scientific and medical reality. I personally don’t believe he is doing this for money, or out of a sense of compassion. He has glommed onto this sad and disturbing situation as a public way to further his own odd and peculiar beliefs, and to continue to exploit a vulnerable family. For any health care professional to do that, is, in my opinion, profoundly unethical, immoral, and despicable.
Paul Byrne has a right to proclaim his beliefs all he wants as a private citizen, but in my opinion, he needs to leave Jahi McMath’s family out of his proselytizing. Enough people have exploited this unfortunately brain dead 13 year old, and her family. We don’t need someone with an MD degree, who definitely knows better, to continue to exploit her—there are enough other charlatans and manipulators in line to do so. Paul Byrne, I call on you to look inside yourself and be an ethical man, and stop talking and writing about Jahi McMath. Stop giving this mother, and this family, and their supporters false hope. Your words are only making the entire situation much worse for the family, and their supporters. Jahi McMath is gone, and has been for 8 weeks, and will never wake up. That is what you need to tell Jahi’s mother, DOCTOR Paul Byrne.