Jahi McMath remains on life support after routine tonsillectomy

10:14 AM, Dec 23, 2013   |    comments
This undated photo provided by the McMath family and Omari Sealey shows Jahi McMath, who remains on life support at Children's Hospital Oakland after doctors declared her brain dead following a tonsillectomy. (Photo: AP)
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A family's battle to keep a 13-year-old girl on life support continues today when a judge in Oakland, Calif., is scheduled to approve a independent medical expert to determine if Jahi McMath has any chance of recovering.

Jahi underwent a tonsilectomy Dec. 9 an effort to correct sleep apnea and other issues. Three days later, citing complications from the surgery, physicians placed Jahi on a ventilator.

Days later she was declared brain dead, and it took a court order Friday to keep Children's Hospital Oakland from removing her from the breathing apparatus that is keeping her alive.

Lawyers for the hospital say two of their physicians have determined Jahi is brain-dead -- and that, at the request of Jahi's family, three doctors unaffiliated with the hospital were called in. All agreed with the tragic prognosis.

Her mother, Nailah Winkfield, says her daughter suffered massive bleeding after the surgery and went into cardiac arrest. Family members saying they are praying that divine intervention will save Jahi's life.

Winkfield, in an open letter this weekend, pleaded for prayers and time to keep her daughter on a ventilator past Monday, when a temporary restraining order barring the hospital from disconnecting life support.

"Despite what they say, she is alive. I can touch her, she is warm. She responds to my touch," Winkfield wrote. "Given time I know (God) will spark her brain awake."

Children's Hospital of Oakland's responded in a statement that while it sympathizes with Winkfield's wishes, "it would be unfair to give false hope that Jahi will come back to life."

"There is absolutely no medical possibility that (Jahi's) condition is reversible or that she will someday recover from death," declarations from the doctors said. "Thus, there is no medical justification to provide any further medical treatment whatsoever."

Nailah Winkfield cries before an Oakland court hearing Dec. 20, 2013. A judge ordered a hospital to continue life support for her daughter, 13-year-old Jahi McMath, who was declared brain dead after having her tonsils removed Dec. 9.(Photo: Ben Margot, AP)

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