Brain-dead teen Jahi McMath to be removed from ventilator


Jahi McMath, 13, was declared brain dead Dec. 12, three days following tonsil surgery. The family’s lawyer, Christopher Dolan, said the surgery, aimed at treating Jahi’s sleep apnea, was considered routine, but after surgery Jahi began bleeding profusely, suffered a heart attack, and then brain swelling.

Since then, the family has been battling with the Oakland Children’s Hospital & Research Center to keep the teenager on life support.

“Because Ms. McMath is dead, practically and legally, there is no course of medical treatment to continue or discontinue; there is nothing to which the family’s consent is applicable,” the hospital wrote in court papers.

As expected, family members are taking the ruling very hard. “I just want to kiss Jahi’s warm face like I do every day,” her grandmother, Sandra Chatman, said outside the courthouse.

The girl’s uncle, Omari Sealey, said the hearing left him feeling “numb,” adding “We’re still trying to digest it.”

The case has drawn national attention and sparked protests from some local leaders who say the hospital should have provided better care.

On Monday, De. 23, a judge sent Dr. Paul Fisher, chief of pediatric neurology at Stanford Children’s Hospital, to evaluate Jahi as an independent expert. Fisher testified Tuesday in court that Jahi meets the criteria for brain death. Dr. Robin Shanahan,who also examined the girl,  told the judge on Tuesday that Jahi was brain dead, which differs from either a coma or a vegetative state because  there is no brain activity whatsoever.

Alameda Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo previously ruled that the hospital must hold off on any decisions regarding discontinuing life support until Dec. 30 and encouraged both sides to work together. “”This is a very, very charged case. The stakes are very high. There is a young girl involved, and I think it would suit both parties well if you would speak with each other about how we are going to get through the next few days,” Grillo said.

After another round of testimony from doctors affirming the hospital’s findings, Grillo agreed that Jahi met the medical standard for being brain-dead, but left the order to keep her on a ventilator in place until Dec. 30 to give family members time to prepare an appeal.

“I’m her mother. I’m going to support her. It’s my job to do it. Any mother would do it,” Jahi’s mother, Nailah Winkfield, said in an interview with CNN’s “The Lead” on Monday. “I just want her to have more time. There are so many stories of people waking up in her situation.”

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Join our Newsletter

Sign up for Rolling Out news straight to your inbox.

Read more about:
Also read
Watch this video
What's new
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x