This week news emerged about a teenage girl who went into the hospital for a routine tonsillectomy and just a half hour after the surgery began experiencing complications that eventually led to her suffering from brian damage. Now declared brain dead by the hospital, the girl is on a ventilator as her family fights to keep her on life support.
They have said that the hospital is treating their daughter as though she has died, although the family believes that she could still wake up. The family has not revealed information about what happened during and after the surgery that has led to the current situation. A hospital spokesperson said that they do not have permission to disclose information about this case, but that they would like to provide details to clarify the context of the incident to the public. In cases like this the family has a right to all of the information, but it is not necessary that the public be fully informed on this personal matter.
Even with some details missing, it is hard to imagine a situation in which the hospital did everything properly and with great care and this situation still resulted. At the same time, the ongoing dispute is causing additional emotional distress for the family as they deal with this potential loss.
For now, the family is pursuing an injunction to prevent the hospital from removing the ventilator. They say that some staff at the hospital has been helping in caring for their daughter and feeding her and bathing her. The family is deeply religious and their views on the issue are in conflict with those of the hospital.
Source: San Jose Mercury News, “Family of Oakland girl on ventilator furious after meeting with hospital officials,” Kristin J. Bender, David DeBolt and Katie Nelson, Dec. 20, 2013.