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Terry Schiavo’s Brother: ‘Jahi McMath Could Walk out of Hospital One Day’

In an op-ed published in the Washington Times, Bobby Schindler, brother of Terry Schiavo and head of the Terry Schiavo Life and Hope Network defended his foundation’s intervention in the Jahi McMath case and stressed he thinks the 13-year-old is still alive.

Responding to criticism that he, and other pro-life organizations have used the McMath tragedy to promote their own agendas, Schindler pointed out that his group did not approach the family or the media first to seek out involvement in the high profile case.

“We were contacted, and we responded,” Schindler wrote. “We respond because that is our mission — to provide aid, comfort and support for vulnerable persons, and to speak truth to power. No one faces more risk in today’s health care system than our medically vulnerable.”

He continued that, since his team does not have medical expertise, they cannot fully access the likelihood that Jahi McMath’s condition will improve.  However, he emphasized that the choice to remove life support must remain in her parents’ hands alone.

“Jahi’s life has been entrusted to her parents,” he explained. “They are her legal guardians. If they believe she is alive, they ought to have the right to have her transferred to another acute-care facility — if they can find one that will take her.”

Citing the 2008 case of Zack Dunlap, who recovered from a catastrophic brain injury after being declared dead, he continued, “Whether Jahi will walk out of this facility the way Mr. Dunlap did is impossible to know.”

However, even though he acknowledged her chance for full recovery is remote, he insisted that continuing to keeping patient’s like Jahi on life support can help save lives.

“Had my parents had the option the McMaths were given, Terri would be alive today,” he contended, “and, under the right physiatrist and protocols, they could have improved her lifestyle, commonly mislabeled quality of life…How much Terri could have improved, I cannot say. We will simply never know.”

Photo Credit: Screenshot/ABC News

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Tamar is a New York based freelance writer and photographer whose work has appeared in over 15 publications. You can catch her work regularly on Issue Hawk, Latest, Jspace, and MediaGlobal.