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Judge rules against parents in case of brain-dead California girl

Dec. 24, 2013 at 7:36 PM

OAKLAND, Calif., Dec. 24 (UPI) -- A judge in Oakland, Calif., Tuesday decided a hospital can take a brain-dead teenage girl off life support equipment in six days against her parents' wishes.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo made his ruling after an independent doctor he appointed a day earlier and a longtime doctor at Children's Hospital Oakland both testified they had determined Jahi McMath, 13, is brain dead and being kept alive by the ventilator to which she has been connected since Dec. 12, the (Walnut Creek) Contra Costa Times reported.

"It's heartbreaking to hear that, of course," the Times quoted Omari Sealey, Jahi's uncle, as saying.

Sealey said the family has no immediate plans to appeal.

"I don't know if we've accepted it yet," Sealey said, when asked about the doctors' conclusions. "There's still time for a miracle. Christmas is tomorrow. It would be great if she woke up."

Hospital attorney Doug Straus said if the family is willing, officials would like to negotiate a time before the 5 p.m. Monday date set by the judge to remove Jahi from the ventilator.

Jahi developed complications shortly after a tonsillectomy Dec. 9. The family has asked people to support her with prayers.

"Prayers are more important than ever before," Sealey said. "Because the clock is ticking."

After Dr. Paul Fisher of Lucile Packard Children's Hospital and Dr. Robin Shanahan of Children's Hospital Oakland testified, Grillo told the family he realized the situation has been "very, very hard" on them.

"No one anywhere would wish this to happen to anyone. ... I hope you find some comfort in your religion," the judge said.

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