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Jahi McMath's family, hospital agree to transfer plan

While the hospital refuses to insert a feeding tube or perform a tracheotomy "on a dead body," they will sign over responsibility of Jahi McMath to her mother for transfer to a facility willing to take her.

By Gabrielle Levy
Jahi McMath's family, hospital agree to transfer plan
Jahi McMath.

The family of Jahi McMath will be be allowed to move her from the the hospital where she has remained since she was declared brain dead last month, according to an agreement between Children's Hospital Oakland and her family announced Friday.

The agreement, announced in Alameda County, Calif., Superior Court, will allow Jahi's mother, Nailah Winkfield, to take custody of her daughter and be "wholly and exclusively responsible for Jahi McMath the moment custody is transferred in the hospital's pediatric intensive care unit and acknowledges that she understand the transfer and subsequent transport could pact the condition of the body, including cardiac arrest."

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Jahi, 13, remains on a ventilator, meaning her heart still beats, but a death certificate was issued for her December 12, three days after she went in for a routine tonsillectomy.

The death certificate is being held pending autopsy.

RELATED Terri Schiavo's family joins fight to keep Jahi McMath on ventilator

Judge Evelio Grillo refused to compel the hospital to insert a feeding tube or perform a tracheotomy on Jahi after hospital attorney Douglas Straus said the hospital would not allow such procedures to be performed on a deceased human being.

"It's horrible that this child has died," Straus said. "It's also horrible that it's so difficult for her family to accept that death and I wish and I constantly think that, wouldn't it be great if they could come to terms with this terrible tragic event and I wouldn't have to stand in front of you time after time."

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Meanwhile, Jahi's family, which said it has found a facility on Long Island willing to take her, says they need to find a doctor willing to insert breathing and feeding tubes. The agreement between the family and the hospital simply allows workers from another facility to enter and take Jahi.

RELATED Judge extends life-support cutoff to Jan. 7 for California teen

"Until this agreement was just made, everything was in flux," said family attorney Christopher Dolan. "This just removes all those impediments."

"There are doctors who are willing to do the procedure," Dolan said, but would not name them.

[SF Chronicle]

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