The family of a Northern California teen placed on life support after being declared brain dead is expected to announce in court the name of the independent physician it has chosen to provide a second opinion on the girl’s condition.
Jahi McMath, 13, entered Children’s Hospital Oakland for a routine tonsillectomy, but went into cardiac arrest during the procedure. McMath never regained consciousness and was declared brain dead on Dec. 12.
In its court memorandum, the hospital said it has no duty to maintain life support because Jahi’s condition is irreversible. “Ms. McMath is dead,” the hospital said in the memo. “Children’s is under no legal obligation to provide medical or other intervention for a deceased person.”
The teen’s mother, Nailah Winkfield, over the weekend pleaded for prayers for her daughter.
“Despite what they say, she is alive. I can touch her, she is warm. She responds to my touch,” Winkfield said in an open letter Saturday. “Given time I know (God) will spark her brain awake.”
Children’s Hospital responded in a statement that while it sympathizes with Winkfield’s wishes, it would be unfair to give false hope. The hospital’s statement contends the surgery was complicated, and that the facility is committed to fully investigating what caused “this catastrophic outcome.”
The hospital said in documents presented to the court Friday that a staff neurologist and Jahi’s attending physician conducted separated exams, both of which determined that Jahi’s entire brain, including her brain stem, stopped functioning.
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