A Living Human Person on Earth until True Death

Life of a human person on earth is a continuum from true conception until true death. For life

to continue on earth, each person must take in oxygen, water and nutrients. Carbon dioxide is

exhaled and waste products are passed in urine and stool.

Ventilation and respiration are required for life on earth. Ventilation is movement of air;

respiration is exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide occurring in the lungs and via circulation

in all tissues of the living person.

Heartbeat is intrinsic to the heart. The heart has its own nerves that causes heart muscle to

contract and to stop the contraction. The heart beats without impulses from the brain.

An interdependent functional relationship among cells, tissues, organs and systems maintain

the unity of the body, which is a soul-body unity, a life-body unity. The respiratory, circulatory

and central nervous systems are vital systems. Without the functioning activities of these three

vital systems, life on earth ends quickly.

If breathing and circulation stop, chest compressions must be initiated quickly for life on

earth to continue. Sometimes a ventilator, commonly mislabeled a respirator, is used. After

true death, neither chest compressions nor a ventilator can be effective. Air can be pushed

into the airways and lungs of a dead body until lungs no longer expand. This is called loss

of compliance. When compliance is gone, elasticity will also be gone and air cannot get in

or out. After true death there cannot be circulation and respiration. Chest compressions and

a ventilator can support respiration only in a living person, not a cadaver. After true death,

chest compressions or a ventilator can only move air; there cannot be respiration, because

respiration is a function of a living human person. Contrariwise, if such efforts at ventilation

and respiration are successful, this can be only because soul-body unity is present, i.e., because

the person is still living, not dead. Respiration, circulation and heartbeat occurs only in a living

person, not a cadaver.


Without respiration and circulation, health of the person deteriorates and death will occur

unless breathing and circulation are restored quickly. This deterioration is manifest in cessation

of vital activities and disintegration, dissolution, lysis and destruction of cells and tissues of

organs and systems. These changes are first at the microscopic level, but eventually in death,

they become evident as corruption, decay, decomposition and putrefaction.


Death is the absence of life from the body. After true death (Latin: mors vera) changes in the

remains are manifest as disintegration, dissolution, lyses, destruction, corruption, decay, and/or

putrefaction. These are pathological changes, which are not biological, rather a lack of biology.

Prior to true death patients are sometimes labeled “as good as dead,” “soon to be dead,” “brain

dead,” “cardiac dead,” “probably dead,” “apparently dead,” etc., especially when there is

interest to convert such patients into organ donors. A patient with heartbeat, respiration and/

or circulation cannot rightly be called a cadaver, a corpse, a dead body. If “probably dead”

or “apparently dead” (mors apparens) is applied to a person who is not truly dead, he will

certainly be truly dead after the beating heart is cut out. To take action that will cause death

based on probability is a violation of justice.


After life is absent from the body, the remains is called a cadaver, a corpse a dead body. The

moment of separation of soul from the body is the moment of true death (Latin: mors vera )

and therefore the moment when a human body changes from a living body to a dead body, a

corpse, a cadaver (Latin: cadaver). The human cadaver, a corpse, a dead body is thus changed

only because it is no longer part of the life-body (soul-body) unity of the living person. After

death the body does not respond and must be significantly changed. Such significant change at

first is at the microscopic and/or gross levels of pathology manifest by absence of functioning

and structural alteration, sufficient that the life-body unity no longer exists. After death these

pathologic changes continue. They cannot be stopped; only slowed or delayed by cooling,

embalming, mummifying, salting, etc.


How much change must be manifest before a declaration of death is made? For the sake of justice to

protect living persons, no one ought to be declared dead unless respiratory and circulatory systems

and the entire brain have been destroyed. Such destruction shall be determined in accord with

universally accepted standards. This is solidly based medically and unexceptionable ethically and

religiously (Gonzaga Law Review 1982/83; 18(3):429-516, p.515 in Potts M, Byrne PA, and Nilges

RG, Beyond Brain Death, Philosophy and Medicine 66, Klewer Academic Publishers, 2000; p.72).

Paul A. Byrne, M.D. Father Peter Damian Fehlner, F.I., S.T.D.






Fr. Peter Fehlner, F.I. and Dr. Paul Byrne have studied extensively the teachings of the Catholic

Church. Basic biology, physiology and pathology indicate a clear difference between life and true

death. The above brief statement provides guidance to help understand these serious matters.



Also, remember that “brain death” is a legal fiction that was invented by a group of doctors in 1968 in order to facilitate the removal of organs from still-living persons  who further succeeded in persuading the legislatures of 48 states to make it the legal definition of death.  It remains a legal fiction that does not correspond to real death of a living human person.   –  Abyssum


A photo of Jahi McMath that the family’s attorney says was taken Oct. 2, 2014.


Jahi McMath as she appears today.


Jahi McMath: New tests may not be enough to declare her alive, experts say
By David DeBolt
POSTED:   10/25/2014 03:05:13 PM PDT


OAKLAND — Her attorney calls her “Patient No. 1,” a groundbreaking test of widely accepted standards defining brain death as a form of irreversible mortality. Indeed, as far as brain-dead patients go, Jahi McMath has entered uncharted territory.
Most families, according to medical experts, come to terms with a medical diagnosis of brain death within days. Loved ones gather to say goodbye as machines are shut off, organ donation decisions are made, funeral services planned.  [It is possibly not accident that Jahi McMath, as a 13-year old girl who was not suffering from any disease only inflamed tonsils, was a perfect candidate for organ donation.  Her organs would have been worth several million dollars in the organ transplantation industry – Abyssum]
Not so for Jahi, who would have celebrated her 14th birthday on Friday. Almost 11 months after she was first declared brain dead and became the subject of a national debate, the Oakland 13-year-old remains on machines — a case unlike any recorded in the United States since the medical establishment first recognized brain death as a form of death in the past century, experts said.

A photo of Jahi McMath that the family’s attorney says was taken Oct. 2, 2014. (Courtesy of Christopher Dolan)
Oddities and possible firsts abound in Jahi’s case. Jahi was recently tested again for brain activity, 10 months after initial tests found no such activity. Experts say the second round of tests is likely unprecedented among U.S. brain-death cases. In what would be another first, according to state officials, family attorney Christopher Dolan is taking steps to ask the state to revoke Jahi’s death certificate based on the results of the new tests. That would be a first step before filing a lawsuit to ask for a trial to decide Jahi’s case.
“Right now, it is one of the very strangest (cases in recent memory). No question,” said Lawrence Nelson, a lawyer with a background in end-of-life issues and associate professor of philosophy at Santa Clara University School of Law.

Experts have said that it is possible for brain-dead patients who remain on machines, as Jahi does, to continue to have a heartbeat and maintain some organ function. But four physicians and one researcher who filed declarations in Alameda County court this month said MRI and EEG tests show Jahi also has some brain activity, though she is severely brain damaged. The MRI was performed at Rutgers University; the EEG was conducted by a Northwestern University neuropsychologist in a New Jersey apartment.
Jahi’s doctors say original tests performed on the girl were accurate but contend that, over time, the swelling in her brain has receded, and tests now show different results. Videos released by Dolan also show her limbs moving when her mother commands her to move.
The tests, according to the doctors’ declarations, show Jahi’s brain did not liquefy, which is what regularly happens to brain-dead patients within weeks. Her skin, according to Dolan, remains warm and soft. The team of doctors includes a Cuban neurologist who was present for the MRI; the others reviewed test results and video but have not seen the girl.
“What I think is important to note is despite all the prognostication that the child would rot to death, Jahi has done what her mother said she was going to do, fight and outlive people’s expectations,” Dolan said.
His statements and the new tests are in direct conflict with initial tests performed by doctors at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital. Doctors there declared Jahi brain dead Dec. 12 after she went into cardiac arrest following a complex tonsillectomy surgery [This is new, up to now Jahi’s operation has always been referred to as a “routine tonsillectomy”  now that questions are being raised the doctors are calling it a “complex” tosillectomy surgery – Abyssum] several days earlier. The hospital’s tests were affirmed by Paul Fisher, a highly respected Stanford Hospital pediatric neurologist appointed by a court to perform his own tests on Jahi.
Fisher has rejected the findings of the new tests on Jahi, and other experts say the evidence shown is not detailed enough or possibly flawed and are calling for a neutral party to examine Jahi.
“There’s a big house of cards,” said Thaddeus Pope, director of the health law institute at Hamlin University. “I’m not saying they are wrong; they may be able to prove this. They just have not collected the evidence in a systematic way. I don’t think the declarations in and of themselves win the game.”
“He points out some very serious flaws,” Pope said of Fisher. “The biggest takeaway is one of the bases for determining if someone satisfies the criteria for brain death is a personal examination. None (of the current doctors) have done that.”
Since January, Jahi has been in New Jersey, where a state law allows families to reject a brain-death diagnosis on religious grounds. But the family says they want to bring her home to her native Oakland.
If she is declared alive in California, the state’s taxpayers would pay for her care, said Nelson.
“That’s probably why they want to bring her back. Many of us might disagree with what they are doing, but if she’s alive, then she’s a person, and she has the rights of any other living person.”
Added Wade Smith, director of the neuroscience intensive care unit at UCSF: “There’s still a lot of information that’s not there to look at and be comfortable with,” Smith said. “If she is alive, it’s a very, very important case. If she’s not alive, it’s also important to confirm that for the family.”
David DeBolt covers breaking news. Contact him in Richmond at 510-262-2728. Follow him at Twitter.com/daviddebolt.


I must point out that Thaddeus Pope, cited in the article above, is one of the nation’s leading proponents of the Third Path, the movement which seeks to kill people not through active euthanasia (the First Path) or assisted suicide (the Second Path) but instead to bring about the death of every patient through Palliative Care which while good in itself lends itself to being manipulated by morally deficient medical personnel who ease the patient to be in the state of “brain death” so that their organs can be removed while they are still alive to supply the huge demand for human organs by the multi-billion dollar organ transplantation industry that is now worldwide.

– Abyssum



About abyssum

I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas