Family works to move brain dead Calif. teen to another facility

Dec. 27, 2013 at 10:48 AM   |   0 comments

OAKLAND, Calif., Dec. 27 (UPI) -- The family of a California teen who suffered complications after a tonsillectomy and was declared brain dead, wants to move her elsewhere, a relative said.

Omari Sealey, an uncle of 13-year-old Jahi McMath, said the family wants to remove the teen from Children's Hospital & Research Center in Oakland to another Bay Area facility, CNN reported Friday.

"Yesterday we spent Christmas together as a family -- doing a lot of prayers and trying to have some fun, hoping for a miracle and looks like we may have gotten our miracle," Sealey told reporters Thursday. "We found out that someone is willing to take Jahi away from Children's Hospital to a facility nearby here in the Bay Area to treat her. So right now, we're asking Children's Hospital to work with us to make that possible."

Sealey did not identify the facility.

Jahi developed complications shortly after a tonsillectomy Dec. 9. Three days later she was declared brain dead by doctors at the hospital. A judge Monday appointed Dr. Paul Fisher, chief of pediatric neurology at Stanford Children's Hospital, to evaluate Jahi as an independent expert. Fisher testified Tuesday the teen meets the requirements for brain death.

Alameda Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo had ruled that the hospital must delay any decisions concerning discontinuing life support until Monday.

Family attorney Christopher Dolan told reporters Thursday Jahi would need tracheostomy and gastrostomy tubes inserted before she could be moved and that Children's Hospital Oakland could perform the procedures, CNN said.

"If they refuse to do that, and insist upon moving towards this deadline of pulling the plug, then we'll just continue to do what we've been doing," he said.

Chief of Pediatrics David Durand said in a statement Grillo was "very clear" in his ruling Monday that Jahi was "deceased and instructed the hospital to maintain the status quo. Judge Grillo did not authorize or order any surgical procedures or transfer to another facility."

Durand said in the statement Children's Hospital Oakland "does not believe that performing surgical procedures on the body of a deceased person is an appropriate medical practice."

"Children's Hospital Oakland continues to extend its wishes for peace and closure to Jahi McMath's family," he said.

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