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January 10, 2013

Video: Orthodox Family Fights Hospital To Keep Teen Daughter On Life Support

Danielle Zfat"Our way to believe as a Jew," said the victim's mother, Aviva Zfat, "is that everything goes through the heart. As long as the heart beats, the soul is in the heart, and therefore she is alive."

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what is the intent of putting this on failedmessiah? lashon hara for someone who is sick and family who is distressed?

None,but I will let someone make a comment that I suspect will occur.
Then I will bring the bad news.

"What is the intent of putting this on failedmessiah? lashon hara for someone who is sick and family who is distressed?"

YTHM, the girl is not sick, she is DEAD, this is a fact, and all your beleives cannot help-with all regret.

My father my he rest in peace before he died he was on life support, my brother who is Chasidic, asked his Rabbi (not Rebbe) and he received permission to disconnect the life support. I am not what the beat of the hearth was, but I remember it was low in the 40’s.

Heartbreaking, please post her hebrew name so interested parties can say a kapital tehillim for her refuah.

Very tragic, it is the hardest worst nightmare of any parent. I don't know why this is posted here...

Danielle Chaya Bat Aviva

love and support to the family

I will keep this precious soul in my prayers for a complete recovery!

false hope is also cruel. If she has no chance of recovery it is not such a simple question as some make it.

Is she brain dead? if so, she is not breathing the machine is. many time loved one see muscle twitches and thing the person is communicating.

anther bigger issue is yes cost, money is not infinite how much should society spend to keep people alive when we know they are dead or will never recover.

also maybe god wants her dead and they are not allowing her to go in peace by keeping on the respirator

This is a tragic case and my heart goes out to the family.

Unfortunately this is a case where bronze age belief says a person is alive and modern medical science says the person is not.

too sad for words....

is the hospital lying when they said they werent looking to remove the ventilator? why else would the family bring suit?

too sad for words....

is the hospital lying when they said they werent looking to remove the ventilator? why else would the family bring suit?

Posted by: ah-pee-chorus | January 10, 2013 at 06:40 PM

yep I had the same question

why is it that religious people who say their whole live is just a journey to the afterlife are the most reluctant to let go and die?

why is it that religious people who say their whole live is just a journey to the afterlife are the most reluctant to let go and die?

Posted by: seymour


because they dont really believe it, they just hope its true.

in the story above, i bet it has nothing to do with the hospital wanting to remove the ventilator, which i doubt is ever done without the familys consent. whats probably happening is that the hospital wants the family to move her since they are probably no longer being paid by the insurance company for her stay. and if they move her, the family would have huge out of pocket expenses.

Words of wisdom from the boxer Joe Lewis: "Everbody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die."

Seymor
You can have spontaneous breathing with " brain death" as you say or even with a person who is in a persistent vegative state.

Although life as we experience it s part of journey it isn't written anywhere that there is a need to hasten death.

Peer reviewed research came out about 2 months ago showing that approximately 20% of people diagnosed as being in a persistive vegative state "brain dead" are in fact not brain dead.
When put into a functional MRI their brain will respond in the same way as a person who is awake.

The areas of the brain that respond to loving words from a child for instance will repond in exactly the same places as a normally functioning person.

As a neighbor who is neurologist and consults with several rabbis dealing with end of life decisions clearly explained that this should shake up halachic authorities who hold " brain death" would qualify as halachic death.
This also would explain "miraculous healings " of people who have been in comas or in a persistent vegetative state for years. Took years perhaps for the brain to heal but they certainly were not brain dead.

Jake-

you have no clue here. PVS is not "brain death" and everyone in science and many poskim know this. 'brain dead' means death, and nobody has ever recovered from it.

Sloppy reporting by the TV News.

Has she been declared brain dead, or not? They didn't say. And by that I mean LEGALLY brain dead as per nationwide protocols. It is NOT the same as a coma or a persistent vegetative state.
Brain dead is 100% officially dead. There is no more arguing about miracles and there is no hope for a miracle any more than there is a chance that a corpse would jump out of a coffin.

If she is declared brain dead, the hospital is legally allowed to disconnect her from all life support, even if the family objects. I discussed this at length with several of the ICU physicians at my hospital.

The question arises regularly in our hospital's ICU. Most hospitals, like ours, will not disconnect the brain dead patient out of concern for bad publicity from angry distraught families, attempts at legal action that result in bad publicity (even if the hospital would win those legal actions), etc.

A brain dead patient will die within a couple of weeks even if you kept them on full life support. The body develops sepsis, swelling, kidney failure, etc. Furthermore, once the patient is declared brain dead, doctors and nurses will no longer be as active and aggressive to pursue every lab test and abnormal reading.

My take, having 'been there done that', and reading between the lines of sloppy reporting, is that the unfortunate girl is terminally ill with no hope for any recovery. Her brain is no doubt overwhelmed with cancer and swelling. Despite all the usual religious gobbledygook about 'there's still a chance for a miracle' (and believe me, we hear this all the time from every religion and so many emotionally overwhelmed families), there is NO CHANCE for any improvement from the state the patient is in.

"She blinked once to say yes" in response to a question? Please, it is wishful thinking to say that that's a response to a question.
I've heard families say their anencephalic infant smiled and laughed (baby was born without a brain).

However, if she blinked for ANY reason then she is not brain dead.

The doctors and ICU staff probably approached the family to discuss end-of-life issues, such as disconnecting the ventilator and no longer pursuing any further testing and therapies. Doctors are notoriously bad at such discussions, and if there is a language/cultural barrier, it's even worse.
The distraught family probably thought the hospital was implying that they were going to 'pull the plug'.

This girl's tragedy is being compounded by poor communication skills- entirely avoidable- and now that everyone is lawyering up, there is no hope for a resolution that will leave the family with a measure of solace.

WSC-

great explanation!

i must say i'm totally shocked that a hosp. is allowed to unhook life support even though patient is brain dead.

Heartbreaking, please post her hebrew name so interested parties can say a kapital tehillim for her refuah.

Posted by: Moishe | January 10, 2013 at 04:47 PM

Also, if possible, post the Hebrew name of every Jew who has died to we can say a chapter of Tehillim for their recovery. Thanks.

APC, I was also surprised to learn this, but it is not done if the family doesn't agree, for reasons I mentioned.

Imagine if a patient is pronounced dead (by the traditional cardiac criteria) but the family insists that the doctors continue to treat the 'patient', even though it is now just a body, because they are still holding out for a miracle. Should doctors and nurses continue to feed a corpse, administer medications, etc? It's absurd, right? And so it is with a patient declared dead by brain death.

Wow, WSC, thanks.

Please say a prayer for Danielle Chaya bat Avivah. From chai lifeline tihilem group

My heart goes out to the family She seemed to be a bright, vivacious girl. That said, what would Moshe Feinstein or Rabbi Tendler have said about this case? The most machmer position is not necessarily the most halachically accurate (or humane) position.

(I heard they decapitated a sheep and put it on life support. This was done to show that an obviously dead creature can still display some life functions).

maybe there should be a rider in insurance companies about continuing care after the hospital deems it medically useless

Seymour, I wonder if an insurance company would consider death as a 'pre-existing condition' LOL.

YL, you can take out a heart or heart-and-lungs from an animal, and connect them with appropriate perfusion devices and keep those organs 'alive' for weeks or months. Google 'heart lung prep'.

My prayers for the family would be:

1. That the patient is as comfortable as possible during these final days or weeks of her life, if she is not brain dead.

2. That the relationship between the patient's caregivers (doctors and nurses) and her family be repaired (perhaps some person with good communication skills from one side or the other can step forward to peacefully address whatever happened that lead to this negativity), so that the family does not have the additional burden of all the media and legal garbage and aggravation at this already most difficult time.

You can take an individual muscle, even just a piece of a muscle, put it in an appropriate nutrient medium, and then treat it with electrical or chemical stimuli, or even certain sounds, and the muscle will jump.

So is this muscle 'alive'? Does it have a soul? Does everything have to be done to keep it 'alive'? Is that piece of muscle obligated to perform mitzvahs? Does it count in a minyan? Will it keep getting letters in the mail from the AJC asking for membership dues?

Oh, this is absolutely heartbreaking, poor girl, poor family. My brain says let her die peacefully, but if she were my daughter I would have a very tough choice-once the girl is underground she's gone for good, so I understand the parents' desperation.

So is this muscle 'alive'? Does it have a soul? Does everything have to be done to keep it 'alive'? Is that piece of muscle obligated to perform mitzvahs? Does it count in a minyan? Will it keep getting letters in the mail from the AJC asking for membership dues?

Posted by: WoolSilkCotton, rock star and sports superstar | January 11, 2013 at 11:28 AM

The most accurate question to form a litmus test is: Can its wife remarry yet? If not, better keep it on life support. If yes, it's time to prepare for mourning.

I thank WSC for addressing this subject again. It was thanks to his insight on stem cell death that I (and my family) have been organ donors for years now.

Many thanks to all who contributed thoughtfully to this thread.

A Gutten Shabbos to everyone.

"She blinked once to say yes.

Lawyers. Is there anything they won't say for money?

I'm reminded of John Edwards' maudlin performance before a North Carolina jury when he channeled an unborned fetus:

"She said at 3, 'I'm fine.' She said at 4, 'I'm having a little trouble, but I'm doing OK.' Five, she said, 'I'm having problems.' At 5:30, she said, 'I need out.'"

"She speaks to you through me and I have to tell you right now -- I didn't plan to talk about this -- right now I feel her. I feel her presence. She's inside me, and she's talking to you."

And now for the minority view:

Who is paying for this hospital care? Insurance won't cover "care" for a dead person. There is no legal right to healthcare in the united states. (First world countries have such a right, but the US is well on the way to banana republics ruled by the military industrial complex status.) Is the family wealthy enough to afford all this unnecessary care or are the taxpayers being stuck with it? People with no health insurance are turned away form doctors offices and hospitals every day - why is money being wasted on this girl? She's already dead, but the money she's sucking out of the budget could have been used to provide care for those who could have lived if care was provided. This family's actions are selfish and immoral.

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