The father of a young girl who was declared brain dead two years ago but still appears to be alive is suing the hospital that tried to pull her plug.
Jahi McMath’s biological father, Milton McMath, filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland, California and the doctor who performed the routine surgery on his daughter in December 2013, according to the San Jose Mercury News.
After experiencing complications with the surgery, Jahi was declared brain dead. Her family fought to keep the hospital from taking the then-13-year-old off a ventilator. After a public battle ensued, the family moved Jahi to another hospital where three doctors have signed declarations stating that she is not brain dead.
The report about the new lawsuit continues:
His lawsuit, which is nearly identical to the claim filed by Jahi’s mother, Nailah Winkfield, will likely be consolidated as the complicated case slowly crawls through Alameda County Superior Court, attorneys have said. …
In October, a judge ruled Jahi’s family can present evidence to determine if she is alive or dead. If dead, the case would be a wrongful-death lawsuit with a $250,000 cap on damages, whereas if she is determined to be alive, damages could potentially reach many millions of dollars.
“This is his daughter,” said Ben Nisenbaum, an attorney with well-known civil rights attorney John Burris’ law firm in Oakland. “We all know what happened. The medical treatment was woefully below standard.
“Milton has been left out as the father. It’s important he be able to help his daughter get better,” he said.
Milton McMath was estranged from his 13-year-old daughter, but his attorney said he was trying to rebuild a relationship with her when the tragic incident happened, according to the report.
Nisenbaum said McMath is not trying to “cash in” on his daughter’s misfortune.
Winkfield, Jahi’s mother, appears to have submitted an amended complaint to her lawsuit in November, showing her daughter is alive, Wesley Smith wrote at LifeNews in November. The document provides details about doctors’ assessments of Jahi, including a neurologist who examined her and reviewed 22 videos of her responding to specific requests.
“Based upon the pediatric neurologist’s evaluation of Jahi, Jahi no longer fulfills standard brain death criteria on account of her ability to specifically respond to stimuli,” according to Winkfield’s complaint. “Jahi is capable of intermittently responding intentionally to a verbal command.”
A hospital spokeswoman told the local newspaper that the hospital had not been served with McMath’s lawsuit.