Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, October 17, 2017 3:03PM EDT
BRAMPTON, Ont. — A Toronto-area family is asking for more time to conduct medical tests on a 27-year-old woman who was declared brain dead last month.
The lawyer for Taquisha McKitty’s family says the Brampton, Ont., woman was taken to hospital in September after experiencing a drug overdose.
Hugh Scher says McKitty’s condition worsened and she was put on a respirator.
He says doctors later moved to take McKitty off the respirator after ruling that she was brain dead and issuing a death certificate.
Scher says McKitty’s family believes she is still showing signs of life.
The family wants the death certificate revoked and obtained a temporary injunction from the court late last month to keep her on the respirator while its legal challenge continues.
Court heard Tuesday that a series of tests has been conducted but McKitty’s family is asking for at least one more to be performed, which would require the court to extend the injunction.
The test would involve filming McKitty for 72 hours to capture her movements and better assess whether they represent a sign of consciousness or simply a reflex, Scher said.
Lawyers for McKitty’s doctor are taking issue with the family’s expert witness, an American doctor who told the court Tuesday he does not believe lack of brain function is enough to declare someone dead.
“The beating heart is indication that there can be circulation going on and I don’t think that a patient should be declared dead as long as there is life in that patient,” Dr. Paul Byrne told the court.
Erica Baron, who represents Dr. Omar Hayani, said that what constitutes life is the crux of the case.
“Would you agree that there is a respected opinion in the United States that the cessation of brain function constitutes death?” she asked.
“Yes,” Byrne said. He then acknowledged that it is also considered death under U.S. law.
The court is weighing whether Byrne is qualified to serve as an expert witness.
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Originally posted 2017-10-17 19:18:16. Republished by Blog Post Promoter