OAKLAND (CBS SF/AP) — A federal magistrate was expected to meet Friday with lawyers to try to resolve a dispute over the care of a 13-year-old girl who was declared brain dead after tonsil surgery.
U.S. Magistrate Donna Ryu will oversee the mandatory settlement conference between attorneys for Children’s Hospital Oakland and for the family of Jahi McMath.
The girl went into cardiac arrest while recovering from the Dec. 9 surgery and shows no signs of brain activity, court records show.
The hospital maintains that Jahi is legally dead and that a ventilator keeping her heart pumping should be removed. However, a state judge has ordered doctors to keep the breathing machine in place until 5 p.m. Tuesday.
The meeting takes on new urgency as the patient has not been receiving any kind of nutrition for over 25 days. The gastric tube or feeding tube would supply nutrients to keep her organs alive, or in the family’s view, to keep her alive.
Nailah Winkfield, the girl’s mother, wants to transfer her daughter to another facility after forcing the Oakland hospital to fit Jahi with breathing and feeding tubes needed for a move or to allow an outside doctor to perform the surgical procedures.
Hospital lawyer Douglas Straus maintains that Children’s Hospital staff has no legal obligation to operate on the body of a dead person. Thus far, the family has not found a doctor who is willing to insert the tubes, but relatives have found a facility in New York that’s willing to care for the girl.
The legal proceedings are likely to figure prominently in Friday’s talks.
Ryu, the magistrate, told the two sides to be prepared to spend the entire day working toward an agreement and to present her with confidential memos outlining their demands.
The issue of the tracheostomy and gastric tubes was also set to be considered Friday by Alameda County Superior Court Evelio Grillo, who so far has blocked Children’s Hospital from removing Jahi from the ventilator.
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