OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — A KPIX 5 report on the latest whereabouts of a 13-year-old Oakland girl declared brain dead has sparked a new debate about life and death.
Months after she was taken out of Children’s Hospital Oakland in a dispute over life support, KPIX 5 learned Wednesday that Jahi McMath is in a Catholic children’s hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Jahi is in the pediatric ICU of Saint Peter’s University Hospital System.
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Family attorney Christopher Dolan would not confirm it. But he insists that the girl’s condition has substantially improved. So much so that he says the family might consider moving her to another facility.
“Whether or not this facility thinks it’s the right facility for continued long-term care … I would say that may be a discussion that I could see potentially happening. Because of Jahi’s improvement, she may need a lower level of care,” Dolan said.
Our story has gotten quite a bit of attention on social media, debates about life and death, including some comments by public relations crisis manager Sam Singer. For a time, he represented Children’s Hospital Oakland.
Singer tweeted on Thursday that if Jahi is alive, her lawyer should have her do interviews.
“I think the public deserves an answer. It’s not fair to tug at people’s heartstrings and make to false claims like this without being able to back them up,” Singer said. “The news media, independent physicians and the medical community ought to be allowed in, so they can make a judgment for themselves as to whether this is the greatest miracle known to man, or this is a hoax. Sadly, I think this is a hoax.”
The family attorney disagrees. Dolan told KPIX 5 that he saw Jahi follow her mother’s voice and even move parts of her body at her mom’s command.
And he says all the experts who said that her body was supposed to have deteriorated by now, are wrong. He wants Jahi re-tested.
“I can tell you that this family is not adverse to having these tests performed again, they may show something different than when Jahi was under the most acute stress of swelling of the brain and lack of food and nutrition,” Dolan said.
New Jersey is one of the few states that allows a family to reject a doctor’s diagnosis of brain death.