Hospital, family agree on moving brain-dead girl

The outside of Children's Hospital and Research Center is seen in Oakland, California, December 30, 2013. The family of 13-year-old Jahi McMath, who was declared brain dead after complications from a tonsillectomy, won an 11th-hour court order on Monday requiring doctors to keep her connected to a breathing machine for at least another week, relatives said. Photo - Reuters

The family of a 13-year-old girl declared brain dead after a tonsillectomy gone wrong will be allowed to take their daughter to a new facility without removing the ventilator that is keeping her heart and lungs working.

The agreement on Friday between Children's Hospital and Research Center in Oakland and the family of Jahi McMath would allow relatives to move the child if they do so before 5 p.m. PT Tuesday (0100 GMT Wednesday), when a restraining order keeping the hospital from removing her from life support is set to expire, said hospital spokesman Sam Singer.

McMath was admitted to Children's Hospital on December 9 to have her tonsils removed as well as other procedures performed in an effort to treat her sleep apnea. After the surgery, the girl began to bleed profusely, went into cardiac arrest and suffered brain swelling.

The hospital declared her brain dead three days later, and made plans to remove her from the ventilator, but her family has fought in state and federal court to keep her on life support.

The case has drawn international attention, as well as support from relatives of Terri Schiavo, who died in 2005 after a 15-year battle over whether to keep her body alive in a persistent vegetative state.

On Friday, Singer reiterated the hospital's position that doctors would remove McMath from the ventilator on Tuesday evening, barring a court order to the contrary.

To move the girl, her family would need to provide transportation and find a facility willing to take her, both sides said.

The agreement came shortly after Alameda County Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo on Friday denied the family's request to force the hospital to insert breathing and feeding tubes into McMath. The procedures would likely be needed for an extended care facility to accept the girl, family attorney Christopher Dolan said.

Evelio also refused a request by the family to require Children's Hospital to allow an outside physician to perform the surgeries on its grounds.

Dolan said if McMath was not transferred before the new deadline, her family would proceed with a federal lawsuit, filed on Monday, again seeking an order forcing the hospital to insert breathing and feeding tubes into the girl.

McMath's lungs and heart are only continuing to function because of air being forced in and out of her body by the ventilator, without which her breathing and heartbeat would cease, according to medical experts. Unlike a person in a coma or a vegetative state, McMath lacks any brain activity, rendering her unable to breathe on her own, doctors said.

Hospital officials have said the facility and state health officials are investigating how a routine operation led to McMath's death and that they understand the family's anguish.


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Eddie M J The hospital did not botch the girls surgery, she was morbidly obese and should never have had surgery in the first place. The family fed her cheeseburger after surgery despite being told by doctors she could not have solid food. They are responsible for her death not the hospital.

Remind me never to go to this so-called hospital. I bet a lot of people are thinking the same thing. This place did themselves a disservice, one, by botching this girls surgery, and, two, by going to war with the family after their mistake. I see a loss of patients and revenue for this place in the near future.

This is absolutely barbaric this little girl has died. The family are denying her the right to die with dignity and in peace by keeping her alive on a ventilator. Its time the judge put an end to this charade, no doctor will fit breathing and feeding tubes in a dead person it is against Californian law. Let her go. There is also the a case of child neglect on the mothers part as the child is morbidly obese and should never have had surgery she should have been put on a diet and exercise programme.

Any mother who feeds her child up to be morbidly obese should be thoroughly ashamed of herself. She is totally and utterly selfish and shameless. Jail her. I f she love her daughter she would do right by her and turn the lifer support machine off and let her go with dignity and in peace and stop prolonging the agony. I hope you regret your decision to keep her on life support when you see your daughters body decompose in front of you. You deserve all you get.