Another Mom And The McMath Case - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

From Anchor Christine Devine

Another Mom And The McMath Case

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"They were not sure he'd survive the first 24 hours." Page 39.

Those were the heartbreaking words of Maureen Thomas. Her teenaged son, Jared, had been in a terrible car accident. Maureen understands the shock, emotion, anger and hope facing the family of Jahi McMath, the California girl declared brain dead following complications from a tonsillectomy.

"I know that prayer is the only thing that is going to get me and Jared out of here." Page 78.

Doctors never used the term "brain dead" for Jared but in a "persistent vegetative state." She asked many of the same questions the McMath family is asking, grasping for any sign to counter reality.


"Is what I am seeing the beginning of a miracle, or just a reflex action?

Jared had gone for a ride with a friend when the friend's truck slammed into a tree off a rain-slicked road. Maureen chronicled her last forty days with her son in a book she titled ICU mom.


"Your brain, unlike your liver, does not regenerate, regrow or otherwise repair itself. ... unless a miracle occurs, Jared will stay in a coma... for the rest of his life. With no chance of recovery."

She told the story to educate other families in the same situation.

"...his body has adjusted to receiving morphine, the first sign of addiction" she writes.

The book is a dictionary of terms like "sespis" an infection which has invaded the blood stream or "posturing", the curling of the arms and legs indicating severe brain damage. Jared had been a baseball player.  She writes "...his pitching hand. They had it bandaged up so I could not see had bad the injury was. The thought of what that injured hand represented was incredibly painful."

The McMath family's legal battle against Children's Hospital and Research Center in Oakland has ignited debate. While the family won the right to move their daughter to a long-term care facility where, according to a family spokesperson, "she will be given a tracheotomy and feeding tube" it's brought back a serious look at life and death, brain dead vs. alive, reality vs. prayer. Maureen Thomas' reaction, "I am troubled by this case. The parents have been told their daughter is brain dead. Medical tests used internationally bore out the diagnosis. Their daughter is gone."

In "ICU Mom" she writes "Really, truly, facing this reality is very, very hard. 'I guess I had that little bit of unreality, the expectation that it would not come to this."

The Thomas', Maureen and Dean, put their faith in their God and to have "Jared experience a natural death by withdrawing the endo-tracheal tube." She writes on page 229, "Jared did not respond to the little hints the ventilator was giving him." "To me it seems as if Jared is finally telling me that it is time for him to go." "My heart" she adds "you can probably hear it breaking."

Jared Thomas "passed away June 10, 2009 at Arkansas Children's Hospital." Maureen's final chapter is on organ donation.

On the McMath case, Maureen says "it is not easy to let go of your child, but even worse to hold onto false hope. It will prolong the pain and enrich the institutions and pharmaceutical industry without helping their daughter."

Agree or disagree with the McMath's decision to keep their daughter in a care facility we can all understand dad Dean Thomas' last line  to parents reading the book, "our hearts go out to you."

ICU MOM: 40 Days and Nights in a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit  on Amazon.

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