Can a heart beat on its own, unassisted, in a dead body, if other organs are mechanically maintained? From what I’ve read, she is on a feeding tube and a ventilator. Nothing else. Some reports claim the ventilator maintains the heart and lungs. Could you clear up this confusion for me?
I would be happy to. Yes the heart is beating precisely because of the oxygenation artificially applied with a mechanical ventilator. The brain (remember apnea test) is not stimulating the body to breath. Separated from the artificial machine pumping the lungs, there will not be another breath. There is no blood flow to the brain (google 4 vessel angiography or ultrasonography) . Because it has been proven there is no “breath of life” all that is being accomplished is keeping a heart beating apart from the brain. The legal, and medical definition of death. This heart could be kept a live in a petrie dish with a bypass machine outside the body. The child is therefore dead as the brain is irreversibly destroyed and no life function exists. It is the catch 22 of being able to apply a ventilator quickly, but it does not mean the child is alive. I grieve for her, her parents, and every worker who tried to save her.
There are laws preventing health care providers from performing procedures on persons who have been pronounced dead. One unrelated example: Ambulance paramedics may not transport a mortally wounded motorcycle accident victim who was pronounced dead at the scene by a passerby physician. The medical examiner's office must be notified.
In the case of Jahi McMath, she has been pronounced dead by three physicians. The hospital and health care providers would need a court order or written order from the medical examiner/coroner to perform the surgical procedure needed to replace the oral endotracheal tube for extended duration of mechanical ventilation.
This is a heartbreaking case, particularly when Jahi reportedly didn't want to undergo the surgery in the first place.
Can a heart beat on its own, unassisted, in a dead body, if other organs are mechanically maintained?
Yes. As a matter of fact I read about a crack addict whose heart was so blitzed up that that ekg kept rocking but she had been dead so long that the blood in her veins had coagulated.