California judge appoints doctor to determine if girl is dead

Dec. 23, 2013 at 6:54 PM

OAKLAND, Calif., Dec. 23 (UPI) -- A judge in Oakland, Calif., Monday appointed an independent expert to determine if a 13-year-old girl, on a breathing machine after a tonsillectomy, is dead.

As supporters rallied in North Oakland to keep Jahi McMath on a ventilator at Children's Hospital Oakland, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo chose Dr. Paul Fisher, chief of pediatric neurology at Stanford Children's Hospital, to determine next week if she is legally dead, the San Jose Mercury-News reported Monday.

She has been on a ventilator since Dec. 12, three days after she had her tonsils removed to correct sleep apnea, weight gain and other issues.

Since she was declared brain-dead, her family has been struggling with hospital officials over whether she should be kept alive, the Mercury-News said.

On Sunday, her parents joined with community members for a prayer vigil, KGO-TV, San Francisco, reported.

Friday, the family was granted a temporary restraining order to keep the girl on life support, KGO-TV said.

"We think that Jahi will be alive through Christmas. That's a major relief for the family," said Christopher Dolan, an attorney representing the family.

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