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Court Grants Temporary Restraining Order To Family Of Brain-Dead Girl On Ventilator At Oakland Hospital

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Jahi McMath (family photo)

Jahi McMath (family photo)

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OAKLAND (KCBS) — The family of a 13-year-old girl declared brain dead Children’s Hospital Oakland has obtained a temporary restraining order to keep her connected to a ventilator.

The hospital no longer has legal clearance to disconnect Jahi McMath from the equipment. Monday’s 5 p.m. deadline has been extended until January 7.

In a Monday afternoon press conference, the girl’s family announced they have located a facility in New York that will take her and they have contracted with a door-to-door air ambulance to transport Jahi.

Officials were bracing for almost anything for when the court-ordered deadline expired. A judge gave the eighth grader’s family the deadline for them to find an alternative-care facility for the girl.

Hours before the deadline, the girl’s grandmother, Sandra Chapman spoke to the media and suggested Jahi was moving her body, saying there was leg and body movement as well as response to touch and voice.

“I know one’s [an alternative care facility] gonna come through. I know it. I feel it. Jahi’s moving. If she’s moving, the doctor should pay attention to that,” she said.

Medical professionals and the courts agreed that no matter how unfortunate the situation is, the girl is clinically and legally deceased.  Doctors said involuntary muscle twitches and some movement is not unusual, and does not mean there is any brain activity.

Family members said three facilities did express interest in taking care of Jahi, but all three facilities later declined to become involved in the case.

Chris Dolan, the family’s attorney, said last week that if things did not pan out over the weekend (as far as finding accommodations) that he would head back to court to get an extension and that he was willing to go to federal court if necessary. He ended up spending time in superior, federal and appellate courts on this case.

“In the federal case, we’ll be asking for a temporary restraining order to prevent them from pulling her plug because they would be rendered moot if she’s no longer with us. Her civil rights will have extinguished with her,” he said.

Dolan was unable to be reached for comment on Monday.

Sam Singer, a spokesman for the hospital said he wasn’t allowed to discuss what happened at 5 p.m. once the deadline was reached, but added that he didn’t expect trouble.

“There may be some ‘contentiousness’ about what has occurred at this hospital between the administration and the family, but the family has always been very kind and has always behaved very kindly toward the caregivers here. We will continue to work with them. They continue to have our sympathy,” Singer said.

Jahi went to the hospital on December 9th for a tonsillectomy, but suffered post-surgery complications and was declared brain-dead just two days later.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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