Sunday, February 9, 2014

Jahi McMath: Emotional and Spiritual Predators


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.


KZ said...

I'd like to add that Dr. Paul Byrne was originally proposed back in mid December as a medical professional to conduct an outside opinion/ exam of Jahi. I have no idea how he and the family were put in contact with one another originally.

It is widely assumed that Dr. Byrne was rejected for 3 reasons: he is not licensed in California, he is a neonatologist by certification (and thus inappropriate for Jahi's situation as a 13 year old), and he is not a neurologist.

The chief of pediatric neurology at Stanford, Dr. Paul Graham Fisher, was eventually agreed upon by both the family and CHO as the independent evaluator. He confirmed the diagnosis of brain death, and no blood flow to the brain or brain stem. Sprocket has those documents listed here at T & T.

Dr. Byrne's comments in his post indicate that he has ongoing communication with Jahi's mother and family after she was removed from CHO. Interestingly, he states that he has "seen" Jahi's feet several times, and that the feet in the video "appear to be Jahi's feet", and that the video presumably was taken after Jahi left CHO. I kind of wonder just why he didn't call up the family, or their attorney, and VERIFY if they are Jahi's feet, the date of the video, and whether or not it was taken after Jahi left CHO? It seems like that would have been pretty easy to do, since they apparently trust him.

Makes you really wonder why there is all this secrecy continuing about the date of the video? It just lends an air of public manipulation to the whole thing, IMO. Why release the video at all if you are not willing to have it validated? And why would Paul Byrne be commenting on it? Surely he should know what a spinal reflex is.

I strongly believe he is continuing to lead on this family and their supporters with carefully worded posts endorsing false hope.He is careful to include lots of comments about how much Nailah Winkfield loves her daughter-- which NO ONE disputes, and then link that love with the false hope that love and prayer alone will "heal" Jahi, and the idea that she is not dead. This is why I believe his words are so emotionally and spiritually manipulative.

The profound love of a mother for her daughter, is entirely separate from whether or not she is actually dead. Linking the two issues is promoting false hope.

I just wonder if Paul Byrne will continue to be there for all of them when her heart stops, and they all need support and explanations for why their prayers, and hope, and faith were not enough.

wonderingone said...

While I agree that Byrne is contemptible, I don't think Jahi's mother is the innocent victim, either. She's used Byrnes as surely as he's used her.

Mom may be a medically unsophisticated. But her mom's an LVN. While not the pinnacle of a medical education, she works for a huge medical entity. She has access to the opinions of real physicians and, I assume, she works with physicians and RNs she both likes and trusts. As a family, they have more access to honest and compassionate medical opinion than the average family....should they CHOOSE to use it.

That has led me to the opinion that they don't WANT any opinion that does not support it what you will. I further think that most of this is about mama's anger at CHO...her feeling of being "wronged" has translated into "my daughter's alive" since to concede the truth would mean CHO as indeed "won".

Therefore as far as I'm concerned they deserve each other. Any compassionate but honest physician who did not follow the Winkfield party line would have been tossed out on his keister long ago

The real rotten shame is that there are so many gullible and vulnerable people in the public who both believe this family and are willing to send donation of 5 dollars to this train wreck that they can probably ill afford and these creep take the money and Uncle goes to the Super Bowl

KZ said...

I completely agree, wanderingone.

I will even go a step further and state that I think the family, and their supporters are using God as a "weapon" on "their side" against the knowledge and scientific opinions of medical authorities.

Many of the social media posts from supporters state something similar to this. In effect, "MY God is stronger than YOUR science and medical knowledge, and God is on MY side." This is a way to "save face" and maintain dignity, IMO. IMO, most Christian faiths don't require one to disregard science.

I do agree Nailah Winkfield is angry, as well as heartbroken. Whether her delusions are voluntary, or clinically pathological, she is nonetheless a vulnerable person right now emotionally and spiritually. I believe that a medical doctor has no business reinforcing delusions or false hope.

Misty4Me said...

The family / Dolan called in Dr. Byrne, or he offered his services. How they connected in the first place goes unexplained (possibly Schiavo's), but at the end of the day, the family wanted a physician to back their party line and their sudden belief in miracles on demand. They may also have wanted someone to help stall, and cover up what they may have done to Jahi.

Re-watching YouTube video of grandma's interview, you see inconsistencies and changes in the family's story. The inconsistencies are glaring. We heard that Jahi was talking, laughing and asking for a popsicle in ICU after surgery (this is in Dolan's court filings and other family interviews), but granny tells a different story. She claims they waited for Jahi to be brought out after surgery, but it was taking a long time. Grandma claims she sent Jahi's mother in to check on her, and found her bleeding profusely. This is a total contradiction to the laughing, talking, popsicle story.

I don't believe the family are the naive dupes some want to paint them as. They knew the score from the beginning. Again, re-watchig press conference videos, the family are speaking fairly sensibly, and agree to abide by a third party doctor. There is no talk of miracles. The tone totally changed once Dolan came on board, and one can imagine him coaching the family on what to say, especially how to push buttons of the press, and possible pro-life donors.

I believe that as time went on, Dr. Byrne and the family conveniently used each other for their own agendas. I don't for a minute think the family or Dolan were stupid enough to fall for Byrne's lunatic rantings - but he said and wrote what they needed him to say. He was perfect for them, and they for him. A mutual using each other relationship that satisfied both parties.

Anonymous said...

there's a simple reason as to why Byrne did not verify the date of the video and whether it was taken after she left CHO. Never ask a question when you don't want to know the answer. The video is reinforcing the false hope that he peddles of her being alive and improving.

Unknown said...

Actually, I think the event was portrayed as occurring upon transfer from the Post Anesthesia Care Unit to the Pediatric ICU. A planned transfer.

Unknown said...

Good article, and well-articulated review on Paul Byrne. And Sprocket, you really are wasting your time trying to reason with the Megan/Brian tag team. They can't be reasoned with, and facts don't matter to them.

Unknown said...

It's a mystery how someone like Byrne is allowed to practice medicine. He seems to lack knowledge in simple biology such as the reproductive process, this is a quote from one of his articles - "Evolutionists claim that human beings evolve from beasts. There has never been a human person evolved from any beast. Evolution from lower forms is bothersome and false. Is it modern evolutionism to claim the IVF test-tube-product to be a person?
Life for every person begins with creation by the Creator. (Cf. CCC, 327; 296.) The reference to creation is prior to time. Life is the substantial fact of the existence in time. Human time begins with Adam and Eve. The living person is visible. The soul is the life of the person. It cannot be seen because it is spiritual.
Not long ago a magazine article wrongly stated:
"Life is a continuous thread connecting each generation to the next. A new human person appears on this thread at fertilization because at that point a new organism with unique DNA comes into existence."
While the author can make this case for beasts and brutes, the physical actions and activities of reproduction in beasts are different from creation and procreation of the human person"

khazar-khum said...

If Jahi is doing so well, why haven't they invited a member of the press in to see her? Why haven't they released new videos of her movements? Or is it because she's no longer quite a photogenic as she used to be?