Judge orders hospital to keep Oakland girl on life support


This has been a long, hard process for the family of Jahi McMath. But on Friday a judge gave them a glimmer of hope.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo ordered attorneys for the hospital and the family of Jahi McMath to agree over the weekend on an outside medical expert who will examine Jahi on Monday to provide an independent opinion on whether she is brain dead.

The attorney for Jahi's family filed an urgent request seeking to block the hospital from further action on the same day employees had planned to take her off life support.

The TRO means the hospital cannot alter the care they're giving to Jahi in any way.

Friday was the first time representatives from Children's Hospital have been authorized to respond to claims being made by the family of the 13-year-old.

Attorney Doug Straus says the hospital has deep compassion for what the family is going through and they're pleased that the judge has taken steps toward closure in this case.

"We're gratified that in the courtroom today the judge recognized that all of the medical and scientific evidence that the judge heard established that, unfortunately, that there's brain death," Straus said. "We're happy to cooperate with the judge's suggestion that an independent expert be provided to confirm, yet again, that brain death is the outcome that has occurred here."

Under California law a person who has been declared brain dead is legally and physiologically dead.

Jahi suffered a cardiac arrest after tonsil surgery last week and doctors have since said that she has no brain activity. She's been brain dead since December 12.

The family has described Jahi's medical procedure as routine. However, in documents filed to the court by Children's Hospital Friday, they say it was anything but, calling it a complicated surgical procedure with serious risks.

ABC7 News anchor Dan Ashley sat down for an exclusive one-on-one interview with Jahi's mother, Nailah Winkfield, to talk about the horrible ordeal her family is facing. To watch the entire interview, click here.

(Bay City News contributed to this report)

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