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Jahi McMath Family, Hospital Hold Dueling News Conferences

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Jahi McMath (family photo)

Jahi McMath (family photo)

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — The family of Jahi McMath and Children’s Hospital Oakland held dueling news conferences Tuesday in what has become a war of words and legal tussling in the case of the 13-year-old girl declared brain-dead who remains on a ventilator.

Jahi’s family and their attorney, Christopher Dolan are now seeking a doctor and medical facility to perform an endotracheostomy for the girl who has been on the ventilator since December 10th after suffering complications from a tonsillectomy for her sleep apnea problems.

On Tuesday Children’s Hospital spokesman Sam Singer explained to news media that the hospital sent a letter to the family and their lawyer asking for more information about the facility or doctor that they want Jahi sent to.

Jahi’s mother, uncle and Dolan responded by emerging from the hospital for about a half-hour news conference. They accused the hospital of standing in the way of their wishes for Jahi.

“Everyday I feel like a little piece of me is just dying,” said Jahi’s mother, Nailah Winkfield at the emotional news conference. Winkfield went on to say that she’s spent every night at her daughter’s side since she’s been in the hospital.

Jahi’s family has one week (until January 7th) to keep her on a ventilator since a court-ordered an extension to buy the family time to find a doctor and facility to transport her and care for her. Both sides are preparing to go to federal court next Tuesday to resolve Jahi’s fate.

Dolan filed new briefs with the state appeals court on Tuesday seeking to expedite the January 7th hearing.

The hospital maintained that the girl is clinically dead and Singer said the ball is in the family’s court.

“We’ve said that we would do everything that we can to accede to their wishes, but we’ve never heard from any of the facilities that they’ve named and had any substantial conversations with them that would make this offer real,” Singer said.

The family previously had said that there is a hospital in New York that was willing to take the child as they refuse to give up hope that she will recover.

Children’s Hospital had stated they would cooperate with the family provided any transport of Jahi and her future care meet both state and medical guidelines.

The family said every time they find someone to remove Jahi from Children’s Hospital that they are blocked by legal action by the hospital. Children’s Hospital denied that claim.

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

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