Mother struggles to keep daughter alive despite being pronounced dead

An Indiana woman believes her daughter was alive when a hospital removed her from life support, but according to state law and doctors, the 17-year-old girl was already dead.

Treasure Perry reportedly had a severe allergy and asthma attack on July 23. Doctors at an Indianapolis hospital pronounced her brain dead of respiratory functions or all functions of the entire brain on August 2.

17-year-old Schatz Perry was pronounced brain dead after suffering an allergic reaction and an asthma attack. (Photo: Facebook/Trinity Perry)

However, Treasure’s mother, Angela Kosarue, said she doesn’t consider someone dead until everything is shut down. So she asked a court to put her daughter on life support at Riley Hospital for Children, but a judge denied her request for an extension beyond August 11, and she couldn’t have the teenager transferred to another hospital. The family finally said their goodbyes to Treasure early Friday morning.

Removing Treasure from life support “went against my beliefs,” Kosarue said. “I think if your heart stops and your body shuts down, you’re dead.”

Believing her daughter was still alive, Kosarue had asked a judge for a restraining order to keep Treasure on a ventilator and help her breathe. The mother said the girl had improved in the days leading up to the last class, NBC News reports. Treasure squeezed Kosarue’s hand “like for a few seconds,” and her pupils responded to light, she said. Before she was hospitalized, Treasure was an outgoing, loving girl who spent the summer saving up to buy a car.

“God can work a miracle, but I know it depends on the wire,” Angela Kosarue said hours before the order expired.

Other hospitals refused to admit Treasure unless she had a tracheostomy, a procedure in which a hole is made in the windpipe to make breathing easier. Riley Hospital would not perform a tracheostomy because she was considered clinically dead.

“I’m so mad, brother. So many people have failed my sister. I let my sister down,” Trinity Perry, one of Treasure’s seven siblings, wrote on Facebook early Friday morning.

In a related case, doctors said Nailah Winkfield’s daughter Jahi McMath was brain dead after undergoing tonsillectomy in California in 2013. The coroner even signed a death certificate, but Winkfield said it went against her religious beliefs. Jahi had also shown signs of life through movements. Her mother took her to a New Jersey hospital, where she died five years later of excessive bleeding and liver failure after undergoing surgery to treat a bowel problem, reports NBC News.

“Jahi wasn’t brain dead or dead in any way,” Winkfield said. “She was a girl with a brain injury, and she deserved to be treated like any other child with a brain injury.”

according to dr Arthur Caplan, chief of the medical ethics department at NYU Langone Medical Center, is “brain dead.”

“It’s as reliable a way of determining death as declaring that a person’s heart has stopped beating forever,” Caplan said, referring to Jahi’s case. “In fact, given the rigorous tests and procedures that must be followed to determine brain death, it’s probably even more accurate than pronouncing someone dead of heart failure.”

However, Kosarue said Treasure was strong willed and would have wanted her to keep fighting for her.

“I do not want to give up. I still don’t,” Kosarue said. Mother struggles to keep daughter alive despite being pronounced dead

James Brien

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