The family of Jahi McMath, a 13-year-old California girl who was declared brain-dead three days after complications in a tonsil surgery that was performed on Dec. 9, has won a court-ordered extension to keep her connected to life support for another week.
According to reports, under the court's order, doctors at Children’s Hospital & Research Center in Oakland are not permitted to take Jahi off a ventilator without her family’s consent before Jan. 7. On Monday, the family’s lawyer filed a lawsuit asking the hospital to perform a surgery, which would allow Jahi to be transferred to a hospital willing to care for her. However, the hospital declined to perform such a procedure, stating that it was unethical to perform any kind of surgery on a person who is legally dead.
Sam Singer, a public relations consultant who spoke on behalf of the hospital, reportedly said that the family must find an outside physician willing to insert breathing and feeding tubes, which would help transport Jahi to another nursing facility that is willing to accept “a deceased person.”
“This is a tragedy that has been postponed for another week,” Singer said, according to reports.
Experts in medical and legal ethics have said that Jahi is legally dead with no chance for a change in her condition. And, according to reports, hospital officials said the Alameda County Superior Court Judge Evilio Grillo’s decision to extend the previous deadline was intended to allow a review of the case.
The lawsuit filed by Jahi's family in U.S. District Court on Monday claimed that the hospital planned a “removal of cardiopulmonary support over the objections” of the girl’s mother.
Jahi’s grandmother, Sandra Chatman, a registered nurse, reportedly told the media outside the hospital Monday afternoon that Jahi was responding to the voices of loved ones around her. The girl’s uncle, Omari Sealey, also said that the girl was responding to her mother’s voice and touch, and that they had recorded it in a video to prove it.
“We have a pediatrician who has seen Jahi who has sworn that she is not dead,” Sealey said.