Jahi McMath Case: Brain-Dead Girl Arrives At New Facility

Girl is declared brain death after suffering complications from a tonsillectomy at Children's Hospital Oakland in December of 2013.

Jahi McMath in an undated photograph. Courtesy March For Jahi Mcmath Facebook page
Jahi McMath in an undated photograph. Courtesy March For Jahi Mcmath Facebook page
—By Bay City News Service 

A 13-year-old girl who was declared brain dead after suffering complications from a tonsillectomy at Children's Hospital Oakland last month has arrived at a new care facility, her uncle and a family attorney said Monday morning.

The family of Jahi McMath is optimistic about her new treatment options after her release from the hospital Sunday evening.

She was first released into the custody of the Alameda County coroner's bureau and then into the custody of her mother.

A death certificate was issued for her on Dec. 12, according to Alameda County sheriff's Sgt. J.D. Nelson.

Once in their custody, the family went through with arrangements to have Jahi transported to another health care facility Sunday night, Dolan said.

A "transfer team" -- that did not include any personnel from Children's Hospital -- oversaw her move from the hospital to an ambulance and eventually to the new facility, Children's Hospital spokesman Sam Singer said.

The facility is somewhere in the U.S. but Dolan would not say where.

Dolan said that at the new facility, Jahi is being treated as a "human being" instead of a body, which is how the family viewed Children's Hospital's treatment of Jahi.

She is being given antibiotics for infections she has from bedsores and other nutrients, Dolan said.

"She laid in the bed and they wouldn't help her," Dolan said about Children's Hospital's treatment of Jahi.

Singer said that Jahi is deceased and the hospital does not treat dead bodies. "No amount of antibiotics, nutrition...is going to bring back her life," Singer said. "It is heartless and reckless for (Dolan) to say otherwise."

Jahi had been at Children's Hospital since Dec. 9 when she went in for a tonsillectomy to help with a sleep apnea problem.

There were complications after the procedure that resulted in heavy bleeding, and she was declared brain dead on Dec. 12.

The family went to court to obtain a restraining order to allow the family more time before the hospital could remove Jahi from a ventilator.

With the extra time, the family arranged for her transfer to another facility, although it was a harrowing process, with five different facilities agreeing to take Jahi and then backing out at the last minute, Dolan said.

A Catholic organization eventually accepted her for treatment, and there were no complications in the transfer, Dolan said.

Her uncle, Omari Sealey, said from Dolan's San Francisco law office this morning, "I'm very relieved to have her removed from Children's Hospital."

He thanked supporters and those who have donated tens of thousands of dollars to the family. He said the donations paid for Jahi's transfer.

He said Jahi's mother, Nailah Winkfield, is at the facility with her, and other family members are making arrangements to visit her.

Sealey said he did not want to give the name or location of the facility because of privacy and safety concerns.

He said the family and their attorney have received death threats and other hate mail in the past few weeks as their case gained national attention. Dolan said the facility is the "best place she would want to be right now."

He said Jahi is now receiving her first medical evaluation in weeks.

Sealey, who was there during the transfer, described Jahi as looking "peaceful" and "like she's sleeping."

A federal court hearing in Oakland remains scheduled for Tuesday afternoon but could be canceled.

The issue about extending a temporary restraining order to keep Children's from taking Jahi off a ventilator was immediately moot once Jahi's body was removed from Children's.

The restraining order was scheduled to last until 5 p.m. Tuesday. Other legal issues about performing a tracheotomy and other surgeries on Jahi for her transfer also became moot once she was released from Children's Hospital, Singer said.

Jahi was moved on a ventilator, according to her family.

Dolan said Tuesday's hearing, if it proceeds, could instead be an opportunity to discuss the "bigger issues" about patient and family rights regarding a brain dead patient that Jahi's situation surfaced.

Sealey said Jahi's mother was told she had no claim over decisions Children's Hospital made about Jahi's care once she was declared brain dead.

According to Sealey, this goes against his family's religious beliefs.

Sealey said his sister sounds happier today with Jahi receiving care. "We never backed down," he said.

Copyright © 2014 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.



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Marilyn Leonard January 07, 2014 at 02:38 PM
This is one of the saddest stories I have ever heard. My heart goes out to everyone involved. So tragic.
Esmée St James January 08, 2014 at 01:36 AM
I'm so sorry for Jahi and her friends and family, so very sad to have this happen over a simple tonsilectomy.
old neighbor dude January 09, 2014 at 02:14 PM
She was a high risk patient in a surgery that was hardly a simple tonsilectomy. So sad indeed but the family needs to let go. The girl is dead and her body is decaying.


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