Hospital Agrees to Let Family Move Jahi McMath to New Medical Facility

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 3, 2014   |   4:56PM   |   Oakland, CA

After a protracted legal battle, Children’s Hospital Oakland reached an agreement with Jahi Mcmath’s family to allow a medical team to enter the hospital to perform the procedures necessary to move her to a medical facility that will continue her care and treatment.

Her mother and family say she is alive following a tonsillectomy gone awry that has left her in an incapacitated state since early December. The family in the case says the hospital has been starving Jahi for three weeks.

The San Francisco Chronicle has more details:

The agreement, described in the courtroom of Alameda County Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo, is the latest development in an unusual battle between the hospital and the girl’s family, who is rejecting the declaration that Jahi is dead after doctors determined that she was brain dead.

On Friday, the Alameda County Coroner issued a death certificate stating that Jahi died on Dec. 12.

The family insists that Jahi is alive and that there is hope for recovery because her heart continues to beat and she remains on a ventilator, which will be kept on as she is moved.

Under the agreement, Jahi’s mother, Nailah Winkfield, is “wholly and exclusively responsible for Jahi McMath the moment custody is transferred in the hospital’s pediatric intensive care unit and acknowledge(s) that she understands that the transfer and subsequent transport could pact the condition of the body, including causing cardiac arrest.”

Grillo refused the family’s request to require doctors from the hospital or an outside physician to insert a feeding tube and a tracheostomy tube on Jahi.
Christopher Dolan, attorney for Jahi’s family, said the agreement removes the barriers the family had faced in taking the girl out of the hospital. The hospital had been saying it would allow the girl to be transferred to another facility but had not heard from any such facility. Now, under the agreement, the hospital will simply allow workers to enter and remove Jahi.

Dolan said he would not discuss details about where or when Jahi will be moved.

“Right now, arrangements are being made, and what we needed to know was that when all the balls were in line, that we could move quickly, and not to have impediments, so that we all understood what the protocol was,” Dolan said outside court. “So this is a victory in terms of getting us one step closer.”

This week, a nationally-respected pediatrician said that Jahi McMath, who is at the center of a national debate about whether she should remain on life support, is not “brain dead” and can recover with proper care and nutrition.

Dr. Paul A. Byrne, a Neonatologist who is the Director of Neonatology and Director of Pediatrics at St. Charles Mercy Hospital in Oregon, Ohio, has given a new interview to a local NBC television station. Byrne is also a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics University of Toledo College of Medicine and the past president of the Catholic Medical Association.

Byrne told the station he does not believe that brain death is “true death” and said, with “proper nutrition and care,” McMath can have meaningful recovery to the degree that she would not meet the “brain death” criteria. He also said as much in court findings that Christopher Dolan, the attorney for McMath’s family.

Late Monday afternoon, the judge in the case granted an extension for life support after a legal request from Dolan.