Oakland hospital ordered to keep treating brain-dead teen

Jahi McMath, 13, was left brain dead after having her tonsils removed to help with sleep apnea at Oakland Children's Hospital Monday, Dec. 9, 2013.
December 23, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
A judge has ordered an Oakland hospital to continue treating a teen who was declared brain dead, as a second medical evaluation is conducted.

Jahi McMath was declared brain dead Dec. 12 following a routine tonsillectomy at Children's Hospital in Oakland. Her family is fighting to keep their 13-year-old daughter on life support.

An Alameda County judge called for Jahi to be independently examined by Paul Graham Fisher, the chief of child neurology at Stanford University School of Medicine. The examination was expected to occur later on Monday, and early Tuesday.

The judge ordered the hospital to keep Jahi on a ventilator until Dec. 30, or until further order from the court.

"We're definitely going to have her past Christmas, we believe, which is something that's huge," Jahi's uncle, Omari Sealey, told ABC News. "We wanted to make sure they [the hospital] didn't take her [off life support] before Christmas. We're in an OK place right now.

The family's attorney, Christopher Dolan, says they want to keep Jahi alive on life support as long as they can.

"The family's goal is to keep her alive as long as possible because they've seen so many issues of spontaneous recovery," Dolan said.

Doctors want to remove Jahi from life support. Outside the courtroom, Dr. David Durand, chief of pediatrics at Children's, said that staff have the "deepest sympathy" for the family, but "the ventilator cannot reverse the brain death that has occurred, and it would be wrong to give false hope that Jahi will ever come back to life."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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