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Temporary Restraining Order Gives Girl Declared Brain-Dead At Oakland Hospital Another Week On Ventilator

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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 girl declared brain-dead after suffering complications from surgery at Children’s Hospital Oakland has obtained an extension of the temporary restraining order requiring the hospital to keep her on a ventilator, the girl’s uncle said Monday afternoon.

Children’s Hospital Oakland will not be allowed to take Jahi McMath, an eighth-grade student at the E.C. Reems Academy of Technology and Arts in Oakland, off of a ventilator until Jan. 7, extending the previous deadline set to expire at 5 p.m. Monday, according to Omari Sealey, Jahi’s uncle.

Sealey said outside of Children’s Hospital Monday afternoon that Jahi moves when her mother speaks to her and touches her and that a pediatrician saw her Monday and says she’s not dead.


He said the family has found a licensed facility in New York willing to take Jahi and has arranged an air ambulance to take her there, as well as a doctor who will be with her during the transfer.

But Sealey said that Children’s Hospital has still not agreed to facilitate the transfer, but did not say what the basis for the refusal is. Children’s Hospital officials have not commented on the family’s latest statements.

Children’s Hospital spokesman Sam Singer previously said the family and their attorney, Christopher Dolan, haven’t told the hospital of any facility that will take her.

Singer said Children’s Hospital told Jahi’s family that the girl could be transferred to another facility provided certain conditions are met but that so far the family hasn’t found another place for her.

To extend Monday’s 5 p.m. deadline, the family said they would file a new complaint in federal court to seek a temporary restraining order to prevent them from “pulling the plug,” according to Sealey.

The family also said they would file an appeal of Judge Evelio Grillo’s ruling in Alameda County Superior Court last week that set Monday’s 5 p.m. deadline, Sealey said.

Grillo granted Jahi’s family a temporary restraining order requiring Children’s Hospital to keep Jahi on a ventilator, but last Tuesday he said the hospital had provided convincing evidence that the girl was brain-dead and could remove her from life support at 5 p.m. Monday unless Jahi’s family was granted a stay by a higher court.

Sealey said outside of Children’s Hospital that a judge had granted an extension until Jan. 7, but it was not immediately clear what judge or what court had granted the extension.

Responding to the news, Jahi’s mother, Nailah Winkfield, said after tearfully hugging Sealey, “She’s going stay on that ventilator and I’m going to continue thanking God.”

Winkfield said in a posting on the website GoFundMe.com on Sunday that one facility that had been expected to accept Jahi had backed out but “we still have a chance at one more facility so let’s pray.”

As of 11 a.m. Monday, the website had collected $22,600 in contributions to help pay the cost of transferring Jahi to another facility.

Jahi went to Children’s Hospital on Dec. 9 for what her family said was supposed to be a routine tonsillectomy to cure a sleep apnea problem.

However, doctors said the surgery was complex, and Jahi suffered complications in the days after the procedure. She was declared brain dead on Dec. 12.

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

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