Hospital Pressuring Family of Girl “Brain Dead” After Tonsillectomy to Pull the Plug

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 17, 2013   |   4:47PM   |   Washington, DC

Jahi McMath, 13, has been declared brain-dead, just days after undergoing surgery to have her tonsils removed. Her family is already devastated enough but now they are fighting the hospital, which wants to take her off life support against their wishes.

“They took away my granddaughter. That’s how it feels,” said Chatman.

Jahi’s family, including her mother, Nailah Winkfield, huddled by her side at Children’s Hospital Oakland these last several days calling on the community for prayers and searching for answers on what went wrong during what was supposed to be a one-night stay for the family favorite. Jahi arrived at the hospital Monday and was supposed to be released Tuesday, the family said.

Monday night, Chatman, a veteran nurse at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, noticed her granddaughter was bleeding from her mouth and nose. She later went into cardiac arrest. Jahi spent Tuesday on a ventilator. By 2 a.m. Wednesday, doctors said she had swelling in her brain, and Thursday, she was declared legally brain-dead, family members said.

Now, the family is fighting another battle.

In addition, the family is now being represented by the law firm of Chris Dolan, who filed an “urgent” injuction against the hospital, urging that Jahi not be taken off life support until there can be a “judicial determination.”
It is not immediately clear if a court date has been scheduled to review the matter. Doctors late Monday agreed to run one more series of tests to determine if there is any brain activity coming from Jahi, an 8th grader at E.C. Reems Academy of Technology and Arts. Earlier in the day, doctors planned to take her off life support after she was declared brain dead on Dec. 12.
Her family has taken to the media, and threatened to involve lawyers, after they feel something went horribly wrong following Jahi’s Dec. 9 tonsillectomy to help cure her sleep apnea. Following the surgery, relatives said Jahi was alert and asking for a popsicle. But 30 minutes later, she was choking up blood and went into cardiac arrest for reasons unexplained.
Jahi’s family has also reached out to Oakland Mayor Jean Quan to see if she can help delay the hospital from taking the girl off life support. It is unclear what action, if any, Quan will take.

Dr. David Durand, the head of pediatrics, told the family that they will take Jahi off life support Tuesday, though the girl’s family said earlier they were vehemently against that.
Durand said the hospital can’t disclose the details of Jahi’s case because her family asked it not to disclose them to the media.



Under California law, “A person who is declared brain dead is legally and physiologically dead.”

Jahi’s family says they can’t believe they have no rights. They say they want to keep Jahi on life support. They’re even willing to take her to another hospital or a nursing home, but in accordance with the law, the hospital is saying no.

Conservative writer Michelle Malkin has taken up the Jahi’s family’s case on Twitter.