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Court Battle To Keep Brain-Dead Oakland Girl Alive; Teen Had Feared Not Waking Up

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Jahi McMath (family photo)

Jahi McMath (family photo)

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OAKLAND (CBS SF) – The family of a 13-year-old Oakland girl who was declared brain dead after she suffered complications following a routine surgery is going to court Friday to seek an injunction that would bar Children’s Hospital Oakland officials from taking her off of life support.

Omari Sealey, the uncle of Jahi McMath, an eighth-grade student at E.C. Reems Academy of Technology and Arts in Oakland, said the family’s lawyer, Christopher Dolan, filed the request for an injunction Friday morning and a hearing on the matter was to be held in Alameda County Superior Court in Oakland Friday afternoon.

According to Sealey, Jahi went to Children’s Hospital Oakland on Dec. 9 to have her tonsils removed to cure a sleep apnea problem that made it difficult for her to sleep.

Her mother, Nailah Winkfield, said Thursday her daughter had expressed fears she wouldn’t wake up after the surgery.

Jahi suffered a large amount of bleeding after the surgery, which had been expected to be routine, and eventually went into cardiac arrest and was declared brain dead on Dec. 12.

Jahi has been on life support since then but Dolan said hospital officials want to take her off of it soon.

Sealey  said he’s seeking an injunction that would stop Children’s Hospital from taking Jahi off of life support and would also order the hospital to provide Jahi’s family with her complete medical records so they can get a second opinion from an outside expert on whether she is brain dead.

Speaking to reporters outside the hospital Thursday night, Dolan said, “We want to keep her alive until there’s a full evidentiary hearing to determine if she’s alive or not.”

Hospital officials have said they can’t disclose any of the details of Jahi’s case because her family has asked the hospital not to disclose them to the news media.

In a statement earlier this week, hospital officials said, “Our hearts go out to this patient and her family. We continue to work closely with the family to support them during this painful time.”


(© Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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