‘God Can Work a Miracle’: Mom Fights to Keep Daughter Alive Despite Her Being Declared Dead

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

According to reports, Treasure Perry had a severe allergy and asthma attack on July 23. Doctors at an Indianapolis hospital declared her brain dead on Aug. 2. Under state law, a person is considered dead if they have sustained either irreversible cessation of circulatory and respiratory functions or all functions of the entire brain.

God Can Work a Miracle': Mom Fights to Keep Daughter Alive Despite Her Being Declared Dead
Treasure Perry, 17, was declared brain dead after having an allergic reaction and asthma attack. (Photo: Facebook/Trinity Perry)

Treasure’s mother, Angela Kosarue, said, however, she doesn’t consider someone dead until everything shuts down. So she asked a court to keep her daughter on life support at Riley Hospital for Children, but a judge struck down her request for an extension past Aug. 11 and she couldn’t get the teenager transferred to another hospital. The family said their final goodbyes to Treasure early Friday morning.

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

Believing her daughter was still alive, Kosarue had asked a judge for a temporary restraining order to keep Treasure on the ventilator helping her breathe. The mother said the girl showed improvement in the days leading up to the final hour, NBC News reports. Treasure squeezed Kosarue’s hand “like a quick couple of seconds,” and her pupils were reactive to light, she said. Before being hospitalized, Treasure was an outgoing, affectionate girl who spent the summer working to save up to buy a car.

“God can work a miracle, but I know it’s down to the wire,” Angela Kosarue said hours before the order was set to expire.

Other hospitals refused to take in Treasure unless she had a tracheotomy, a procedure in which a hole is made in the windpipe to help with breathing. Riley Hospital wouldn’t perform a tracheotomy because she was considered clinically dead.

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

In a similar case, doctors said Nailah Winkfield’s daughter Jahi McMath was brain dead after tonsil surgery in 2013 in California. The coroner even signed a death certificate, but Winkfield said it went against her religious beliefs. Jahi had also exhibited signs of life through movements. Her mother got her transferred to a hospital in New Jersey, where she died five years later from excessive bleeding and liver failure after surgery to treat an intestinal issue, NBC News reports.

“Jahi wasn’t brain dead or any kind of dead,” Winkfield said. “She was a girl with a brain injury, and she deserved to be cared for like any other child who had a brain injury.”

According to Dr. Arthur Caplan, head of the Division of Medical Ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center, “brain dead is dead.”

“It is as reliable a way to determine death as declaring that a person’s heart has forever stopped beating,” Caplan said, referring to Jahi’s case. “In fact, due to the strict tests and procedures that have to be followed to determine brain death, it is probably even more error-free than pronouncing someone dead due to cardiac failure.”

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

“I don’t want to give up. I still don’t,” Kosarue said.

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