Hospital Doctors Misdiagnose Woman as Brain Dead
Anahita Meshkin has been in a coma for nine years after suffering a massive seizure during her battle with anorexia
Last year doctors at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, California diagnosed 29-year-old Anahita Meshkin as brain-dead and refused to continue treating her for ethical reasons.
However, her father’s fight to keep his daughter alive led to two UC San Francisco School of Medicine neurologists discovering that Anahita was not actually brain-dead, San Jose Mercury News reports.
In lieu of operating on her infected, fractured hip because they felt treating a brain dead patient was unethical, doctors reportedly told Anahita’s father, Mohammed Meshkin, that they wanted to take his daughter – who had been in a coma since 2007 following a seizure during her battle with anorexia – off of life support.
However, before giving up hope, Meshkin contacted lawyer Chris Dolan who filed a temporary restraining order, which barred the hospital from refusing treatment to Anahita, the newspaper reports. Following the order, a Contra Costa Superiors Court judge reportedly requested an independent test to prove that Anahita was beyond treatment, at which point the two neurologists found otherwise.
“She does not meet the clinical criteria for brain death,” physicians Wade Smith and Andrew Josephson wrote, according to court records obtained by Mercury News. ”
During the tests, Anahita reportedly moved her head and elbow after being pinched.
While Meshkin does not believe that his daughter recovered from being brain dead, he does believe that she was never brain dead in the first place and that doctors rushed to their diagnosis, reportedly saying on Tuesday, “This is their job to clear beds, and our job is to fight back. Mr. Dolan saved Jahi [McMath]. He saved Anahita too. He’s my hero and Anahita’s savior.”
Dolan – who helped keep Jahi McMath on life support after the then 13-year-old was pronounced dead following complications during her sleep apnea surgery – agrees with Meshkin, reportedly saying that a brain dead diagnosis is a way for doctors to uphold their own beliefs in quality of life.
“In my opinion, it is an example of a physician making a resource determination and using brain death as a way to legitimize their beliefs on the quality of life and how they see this as futile,” he said, according to Mercury News. “Then there is their belief that better utility can be gained by organ transplantation These families have relationships with their loved ones Who are we to determine whether or not that relationship is significant enough?”
According to the newspaper, after Meshkin was granted the right to keep his daughter on life support, the hospital did do the surgery on Anahita’s hip that sparked the legal battle. She then reportedly returned to the long-term care facility where she resides, and remains in a coma.
Although a hospital official could give specifics on Anahita’s case, Ben Drew did tell Mercury News that “highly trained medical staff adhere to a detailed protocol for determination of brain death,” adding that “the protocol exceeds the requirements mandated by state law and directly incorporates the criteria adopted by the American Academy of Neurology.”
Despite speculation from healthcare professionals, Meshkin reportedly has no plans to stop fighting for his daughter’s life.
“I’ll fight as long as she does,” Meshkin said. “If she quits, I will quit. But I have my hope that she’ll come back.”
John Muir Medical Center and Meshkin’s attorney Chris Dolan did not respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.