Family 'closer than ever' to transferring Jahi McMath

Jahi McMath's family says they're closer than ever to securing a transfer of the brain-dead teen from Children's Hospital Oakland.
January 4, 2014 6:17:39 PM PST
Time is running out for the family of a 13-year-old girl declared brain-dead to find her a permanent residence. A court ruling Friday officially cleared the way for the family of Jahi McMath to move her out of Children's Hospital in Oakland.

I just spoke with the Omari Sealey, Jahi's uncle, who told me they're closer than ever to securing the relocation of the teen from Children's Hospital. And Jahi's grandmother, Sandra Chatman, says the 13-year-old is responding to her touch.

On Saturday there was new support for the family from Bay Area motorcycle groups. Several riders showed up at Children's to support the family in their efforts to move the brain-dead 13-year-old.

The hospital and the family of Jahi McMath reached an agreement on Friday to let a critical care team transfer the teen to a ventilator provided by the family and transport her to a facility they say is interested in giving her the care she needs.

An Alameda County Superior Court judge ruled that Children's Hospital Oakland can remove the 13-year-old from a ventilator on Tuesday at 5 p.m. But her family has not given up. Sealey told me that they're closer than ever to getting all the pieces in place to move his niece.

"We're moving in the right direction," Sealey said. "We've had small victory after small victory and it's all leading to the right direction."

"I said, 'hey Jahi,' and she moved her legs and her arms," Chatman said. "Heart's beating good, she's warm, and she looks beautiful. This is the best glow I've ever seen she's had.

When asked if she thinks the teen understands what's happening, Chatman said, "Yes I do. I know she does!"

On Friday, a seven-and-half-hour-long settlement conference before U.S. Magistrate Donna Ryu laid out the steps necessary to move the 13-year-old.

A superior court judge approved the move as long as Jahi's mother assumes all responsibility for what happens during transfer.

The 13-year-old had surgery on Dec. 9 for what her family says was a routine tonsillectomy. On Dec. 10 she was placed on a ventilator and on Dec. 11 she was declared brain-dead.

The clock is ticking. A federal hearing in the case is set for Tuesday at 1 p.m., where the attorney for the family may ask the judge for an extension to that temporary restraining order if they have not moved the 13-year-old.


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