The complex and controversial case of Jahi McMath has been well publicized around the world and has been the focus of intense debate. While there may be more details yet to emerge, it appears from media reports1,2  that Jahi, a 13-year-old girl, underwent complex ear, nose, and throat surgery for sleep apnea, suffered a cardiac arrest and was subsequently declared brain dead. Her family refused to accept the diagnosis and, despite the issuing of a death certificate, removed her to another facility for ongoing management.1,2 

In the media blitz that followed, it was clear that many commentators did not perceive a difference between brain death and other neurological conditions such as persistent vegetative state and coma. Many health care professionals have attempted to clarify the situation in media reports and in personal blogs, but it was clear...

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