December 31, 2013 in Nation/World

Life support extended for brain-dead girl

Associated Press
 

OAKLAND, Calif. – The family of a girl who was declared brain dead after what was supposed to be a routine tonsillectomy received another reprieve Monday from a judge who ordered the 13-year-old to be kept on life support for another week.

Doctors at Children’s Hospital Oakland say Jahi McMath will never recover, so they want to take her off the machines that are keeping her body functioning. Her family wants to continue life support, saying they have hope she will still pull through.

Shortly before a 5 p.m. Monday deadline that was set in a previous ruling, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo ordered the hospital to keep Jahi on a ventilator until Jan. 7.

Meanwhile, the family’s lawyer filed suit in federal court, requesting that the hospital be compelled to perform a tracheotomy for breathing and to insert a feeding tube – procedures that would allow Jahi to be transferred to a facility willing to care for her. The hospital has said it’s unethical to perform surgery on a person who is legally dead.

Jahi’s mother, Nailah Winkfield, said she wept when she heard about the delay.

“Who wants to know the date and the time their child would die?” Winkfield said. “I don’t care what anyone has to say about what I’m doing. … I have to do what is right for me and for Jahi.”

She said she does not believe her daughter is dead because her heart is still beating.

Sam Singer, a hospital spokesman, said it would comply with the judge’s new order.

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