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Monday, November 2, 2015

Please pray for Aden Hailu and the Supreme Court of Nevada

Tomorrow the state Supreme Court of Nevada will hear evidence about brain death in the case of Aiden Hailu. Read about Aden's case here. And read more details here. Aden's parents have been fighting for her appropriate treatment since last April. Doctors and the hospital where she's being treated are denying her treatments that could help her recover.

This case is a warning. You think you are in charge of your own health care and that of your dependents? Think again. You will have to fight for your own life and the life of your loved ones against doctors, hospital ethics panels, and drug companies. The transformation of medicine from "patient-oriented" to "society-oriented" is well underway.  If you are judged deficient in "quality of life," you are likely to be denied treatment and shown the quick exit door.

I received this email from Dr. Paul Byrne yesterday:

Tomorrow I am going to Reno, then Carson City. On Tuesday at 2 PM (5 PM Eastern time) NV Supreme Ct will hear oral arguments about Aden Hailu. Please pray at 5 PM Eastern time for 30 minutes, which is the 30 minutes the NV Supreme Court has allotted for hearing oral arguments in this matter of Life and Death. So far as I know this is the first time any challenge to the Determination of Death Act has occurred, but certainly the first time a court as high as a state Supreme Court has considered this matter of “brain death.” 
Brain death is a lie, but it's being used to deny ordinary treatment and minor surgical procedures to vulnerable patients. I'll be praying tomorrow from 5-5:30 in front of the Blessed Sacrament. I urge you to join me at the appropriate time in your time zone. Remember the spiritual work of mercy to pray for the living and the dead. Aden is alive, but she's a target because she's vulnerable.

Please pass this far and wide on Facebook, blogs, twitter, etc. We need to storm heaven for this lovely young woman who deserves a chance to recover. Pray that a Nevada doctor will step forward and become Aden's advocate.

Our Lady, Help of the Sick, pray for Aden.


  1. The official stand of the Catholic Church is explained in these FAQ regarding brain death:

    There is no grey area regarding brain death, without mechanical support cardio-pulmonary function would soon cease. Just because technology allows us to support the dead doesn't mean we should. When the brain dies all that remains is the corporeal shell of the person who once inhabited it. The spirit or soul of that being has already moved on and so should we. It never ceases to amaze me that the most vocal opponents of determining death by neurological criteria are the deeply religious. From where does this insistence on clinging to earthly remains come?

  2. Of course there's a "grey area." A ventilator will not keep a dead person alive for years as has been the case with Jahi McMath who has been "legally dead" in California since 2013. She continues to exhibit all the functions of a living, although seriously debilitated, individual. Her digestive system processes food. She urinates and has bowel movements. She moves. She will even respond to verbal commands. Those who claim she is "dead" say these are just reflexes.

    As for the "official stand of the Catholic Church" it requires that the person be "certainly dead." Here's an article that disputes that "brain death" makes one "certainly dead." There is plenty of controversy FROM THE MEDICAL COMMUNITY disputing that brain death is true death.

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church # 2296 states, "[I]t is not morally admissible directly to bring about the disabling mutilation or death of a human being, even in order to delay the death of other persons." Taking out a person's beating heart will kill him. That's indisputable.

    So the issue revolves around whether brain death is true death and there is plenty of evidence that it is not as illustrated by the fact that "brain dead" patients being prepped for donation have "waked up." Catholic ethicists are not the magisterium of the Church.

    As for "clinging to earthly remains" that's simply an emotionally loaded statement. A physician is called to "do no harm" and do only those things that help the patient until true death occurs. The patient is not required to accept extraordinary means, but that is up to the patient and/or the family of the patient if he is unable to make decisions for himself.

    Today, more and more, patients and their families are being denied the "choice" in favor of others using risk/benefit analysis to determine the worth of the patient vs. their utility. Aiden has been denied a PEG tube, a simple procedure that allows her to be fed directly into the stomach. Why? Tube feeding is as easy as giving a baby a bottle. Many people are living with PEG tubes. Care givers can do it at home.

    Sacrificing some lives (considered not worth living) for the sake of others (considered more deserving of life) is certainly not a Catholic principle.

  3. True death has occurred . Aden's heart stopped and she died but they were able to start her heart again and artificially sustain her body with modern technology. Medical science has gotten more efficient at keeping these bodies going for longer periods of time. Since we have this technology we must be responsible with it , instead we are using it in an attempt to defy God's will in favor of our own. All life is precious, lifeless bodies should be buried or otherwise disposed of. This is not God's work here.

  4. Well, Betsy, I have some questions for you:

    1) If true death has occurred, how can the person be revived? And should medicine never attempt to revive a person whose heart stops? Should CPR classes be discontinued?

    2) If true death has occurred, how can the major organ systems -- digestion, respiration, excratory continue to function? Can dead bodies eat?

    3) Have you ever heard of locked in state?

    4) Can a ventilator revive a cadaver?

    To call a person dead who is breathing (even with help -- like Christopher Reeve who lived for years on a ventilator), has a heartbeat, etc. is what is really playing God. It appears your gods are the doctors and hospitals and ethics committees who are making these declarations. That's putting a lot of faith in individuals who have demonstrated how wrong they are over and over and over. Google brain death on this blog and see how many people declared brain dead have "miraculously" come back to life. It's no miracle. They were never dead in the first place. The body, including the brain, has a tremendous capacity to heal. Unfortunately, it's cheaper to kill than to give people a chance and, if the person is an organ donor, there are dollar signs coming out his ears and a organ harvesting team with a big stake in declaring the person dead as quickly as possible.