Medical ethicists, however, disagree. "This case is different, in that Schiavo was an adult," said Steven Miles, a medical ethicist at the University of Minnesota Center for Bioethics.
Despite being younger than 18, however, Javona was old enough, Miles said, that she probably expressed wishes about what to do if she was in such a situation, and the courts should take those wishes into account.
"This shouldn't be a matter of the family members' beliefs and values," Miles said. "In a contest, the decision should go to who speaks with the most loving and intimate knowledge of the daughter. … The mother may have been the main custodian, but that both parents signed consent forms, speaks to both their involvement."
Miles added that, in similar cases, 90 percent of adults in intensive care receive medically managed deaths. The rate is slightly lower for minors, about 85 percent.
Miles also said it can sometimes take days for the effects of brain damage to be fully known, and the hospital may not have intentionally tried to hide information from the family.
In a statement, the hospital called Javona's condition "completely unexpected," and said its "medical and nursing teams continue to provide the very best care to Javona."