Family of Teen Left Brain Dead Seeks Injunction to Keep Her On Life Support | NBC 10 Philadelphia
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Family of Teen Left Brain Dead Seeks Injunction to Keep Her On Life Support



    (Published Friday, Dec. 20, 2013)

    The attorney for the family of a 13-year-old Oakland girl who has been declared brain dead after suffering complications from a routine tonsil-removal surgery said he will seek an injunction on Friday that would prevent her from being taken off life support.

    Jahi McMath's family late Thursday met with Children's Hospital Oakland officials to request the teen be kept on life-support through the Christmas holiday. The hospital is unwilling to meet the request, according to the family, who added that they feel doctors were dismissive of their wishes.

    "I don't want to have my Christmas every year remind me of her being taken off a ventilator," said Nailah Winkfield, Jahi's mother.

    The family attorney, Chris Dolan, sent a letter earlier Thursday to Children’s Hospital asking for several things, among them, giving the 13-year-old a nutrition tube, keeping her on the ventilator through Christmas and giving the family 48-hour notice should doctors decide to take her off of life-support.

    Dolan said the hospital also has denied the family's request for Jahi's complete medical records and their request to have an outside medical expert make an independent determination as to whether she is brain dead.

    MORE: "Urgent" Request to Keep 8th Grader Jahi McMath on Life Support After Tonsillectomy

    The family believes the 8th grader can still recover.

    This all began on Dec. 9, when McMath went into Children’s Hospital for a tonsillectomy. After the surgery, she began suffering severe complications. Three days later, she was declared brain dead.

    Jahi’s family said the hospital was pressuring them to take McMath off life-support -- until they threatened legal action.

    Her family has been holding court outside Children's Hospital for the last several days, taking to the media to make their battle public to keep Jahi on life support. Her heart is still beating, though two EEG tests on Tuesday showed no signs of life, according to her family.

    Jahi had the tonsillectomy to help her with sleep apnea, the family has said, but has never disclosed more.

    Dr. David Durand, chief of pediatrics, released the following statement late Thursday:


    Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Jahi McMath. This is a tragic situation.

    We want the public to know that the family has not permitted us to discuss the medical situation. We are unable -- without the family’s permission--to talk about the medical procedure, background or any of the details that are a part of this tragedy. Details that would provide transparency, openness and provide answers to the public about this situation.

    We implore the family to allow the hospital to openly discuss what has occurred and to give us the necessary legal permission--which it has been withholding--that would bring clarity, and we believe, some measure of closure and deeper understanding of this medical case.

    Many of the statements made by the family and its attorney must be taken in the context that they will not allow CHO to discuss the case and provide the information necessary for there to be a fuller understanding.


    MORE: Brain Dead Oakland Teen's Family Seeking Mayor's Help

    NBC Bay Area's Cheryl Hurd and Bay City News Service contributed to this report.