Donations Surge to Help Move Brain Dead California Teen
(OAKLAND, Calif.) — Jahi McMath will remain hooked up to life support for at least another week as the California teenager’s family plots the logistics of possibly moving the brain dead girl to a facility in New York or Arizona, according to court documents.
One hour before a court order was set to expire and Children’s Hospital Oakland planned to unhook the 13-year-old from a ventilator, a judge extended Jahi’s life support to Jan. 7.
Jahi was declared brain dead following surgery to remove her tonsils and adenoids on Dec. 9.
The eighth grade student “suffered a large blood loss, and as a result, suffered a heart attack and a loss of oxygen to her brain,” according to the federal complaint filed by her family.
While Children’s Hospital Oakland classifies Jahi as legally dead, her family has been battling to keep her hooked up to life support.
Jahi’s mother, Latasha Winkfield, has said she believes her daughter is alive and has vowed to not give up the fight.
Donations to a fundraiser Winfield started surged past $32,000 Monday night, according to gofundme.com, after the judge’s decision. The family has said it plans to use the money toward the cost of transferring Jahi to a new facility. But when reached by ABCNews.com Monday night, Jahi’s uncle, Omari Sealy, declined to share specifics of the family’s next move.
“We’re just grateful,” he said. “We want to thank God and everybody out there who prays for us. Keep praying, it’s working.”
Christopher Dolan, an attorney for the family, filed complaints in superior and federal courts on Monday to stop the hospital from unhooking Jahi when the previous court order expired at 5 p.m. PT Monday.
Also included in the federal complaint was a request that Children’s Hospital Oakland perform a tracheotomy and to insert a feeding tube, which are necessary procedures before Jahi can be transferred.
In a news conference Tuesday, Dolan claimed several facilities are willing to take Jahi, pending she has a tracheotomy tube. However, Children’s Hospital will not allow any outside doctors admitting privileges to enter the hospital to do so.
Children’s Hospital Oakland “does not believe that performing surgical procedures on the body of a deceased person is an appropriate medical practice,” the hospital said in a statement posted on its website last week.
The hospital reiterated in a statement that it has continued “to support the family of Jahi McMath in this time of grief and loss over her death.”
“Nothing is going to bring her back,” Children’s Hospital Oakland spokesman Sam Singer said. “There is no facility that we know of that is going to accept a deceased person on a ventilator. That being said, if they can find one, we’ll do everything in our power to accede to their wishes.”
The family believes she can be revived, the attorney said, and claims they have an agreement from the coroner to release Jahi to them.
“I hate it that they refer to her as just the body or the deceased,” Winkfield said. “That is my child that they’re talking about. They don’t even use her name.”
Children’s Hospital said the 13-year-old cannot be revived, also contending that no facility has reached out to express willingness to take her.
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