The recent case of Jahi McMath, a teenager in Oakland, California, was extensively publicized in the news media and led to prominent commentaries in medical journals on the meaning of brain death.1,2 McMath is a 14-year-old adolescent who in December 2013 experienced devastating neurological damage following complications from a tonsillectomy. McMath met criteria for the diagnosis of brain death. She continues, however, to receive mechanical ventilation, tube feedings, and supportive care at an undisclosed location, with her treatment financed by private funds, according to the most recent reports.
Truog RD, Miller FG. The Meaning of Brain DeathA Different View. JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(8):1215-1216. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.2272