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The Schiavo case became a cause celebre of pro-life groups, who view all life as precious and stand against euthanasia as strongly as abortion. Jahi’s tragic outcome attracted similar attention: The Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network stepped in to help Jahi’s family, and more than 1,200 people donated about $50,000 to the family through GoFundMe.com.

But in Jahi’s case, the sticking point was whether she was dead or alive.

In his court papers filed before Friday’s settlement, Mr. Dolan argued that Jahi had not been proved dead and unworthy of life support.

Dr. Paul Byrne, a prominent Catholic pediatrician, visited the child in the hospital and “observed her responding to her grandmother’s voice and touch with a squirming movement,” according to The Associated Press.

“In my opinion, this signifies she is not dead,” Dr. Byrne said. “She should receive treatment as she is alive just like everyone else with severe head injury. If she gets treatment, she will have a chance to recover brain function.”

Jahi’s family also said the eighth-grader was alive because Jahi moved when touched and was still “warm” to the touch. They begged the hospital to perform an operation to insert feeding and breathing tubes in Jahi, in preparation for her to be moved to another facility.

In the eyes of the hospital, though, Jahi met the well-known legal and clinical definition of death since no electrical activity could be found in her brain, even in the brainstem. It sought to disconnect Jahi from the ventilator and turn over her body to a coroner.

It also declined to place tubes into Jahi, saying it doesn’t ask its staff to perform such procedures on a patient who is brain dead. “Ms. McMath is dead,” one hospital official said.

These comments may have been particularly cruel to Jahi’s relatives, who have been praying for a miraculous recovery.

Hospital officials’ comments about Jahi being dead likely exacerbated “the distrust minorities have for institutions,” bioethics lawyer Wesley J. Smith said in a LifeNews.com article.

Mr. Smith noted that a 2013 Pew Research Center poll found that blacks and Hispanics were far more likely than whites to ask doctors to “do everything possible to save their lives” in cases where there was “no hope of improvement and [they] were suffering a great deal of pain.”

Even in these dire cases, only 40 percent of Hispanics and 33 percent of blacks said they would ask their doctors to “stop treatment so they could die,” the Pew poll found. In contrast, 65 percent of whites said they would accept cessation of treatment.

In addition, studies have indicated that minorities in America receive lower-quality health care and have found racial disparities in treatments and outcomes.

Because of that, people are going to be sensitized about racial issues and either “defend themselves” against a charge of discrimination or look at Jahi’s case “and factor in” the family’s race, Mr. Brugger said.

“The fact that this little girl is a black girl — I don’t know how it plays in but I do think it’s relevant,” he said.

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