Brain-dead teen is running out of time at Children’s Hospital in Oakland, California and might finally be able to rest in peace. Jahi McMath has been on life support for over two weeks and has been declared legally dead. Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo previously issued an order stating the hospital can remove her from the ventilator at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time Monday unless her relatives file an appeal.
The family had hope that Jahi would have been transferred to one of two California nursing facilities but both have withdrawn their offers to care for the teen. Their final hope, outside of a miracle, is a facility in New York who has since claimed that all of the media attention could alter their original offer.
Nailah Winkfield, Jahi’s mother, wrote on the fundraising site for her daughter that she had just found out the facility which had said they would take Jahi has backed out. Winkfield said that she and her family were still trying to find a location that would take Jahi in her current condition.
Doctors at Children’s Hospital have concluded that Jahi has been brain-dead since December 12, three days after she underwent a tonsillectomy. Jahi suffered complications after she awoke from the operation and after bleeding heavily suffered a heart attack.
Another doctor, independent from Children’s Hospital, has also concluded that Jahi meets all the requirements needed to be considered brain-dead. The family disagrees with these findings and believes Jahi is still alive.
The director of the Division of Medical Ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center, Arthur Caplan, said that the media attention surrounding this case is giving the impression that dead people can come back to life. This has fueled the deceptive thinking that brain death is not as final as cardiac death.
As of Sunday Children’s Hospital said they have not heard anything from the facility in New York or any other location concerning transferring Jahi. The braid-dead teen is still being kept alive by a feeding tube and life support machine. The hospital plans to remove Jahi from the ventilator today as early as 5:01 p.m.
Hospital spokeswoman, Cynthia Chiarappa, said that they would need to communicate directly with any facility willing to take custody of Jahi’s care to find out exactly what they are capable of doing. Chiarappa said this is not the same as transferring an individual in a vegetative state, this is a dead body. Jahi is only able to survive on life support.
The coroner would also need to provide written permission for Jahi to be transferred, according to the hospital, and there would need to be confirmation of “lawful transportation” included in any arrangement to have her body moved.
Transferring the brain-dead teen’s body is more difficult than a normal transfer because she would require having two medical procedures performed before she could be moved. Jahi needs to have a breathing and feeding tube inserted for long-term care before she can be transferred. The hospital does not believe performing surgery on a dead body is appropriate and has refused to perform these necessary procedures.
Family attorney Christopher Dolan said the family’s last hope, outside of a miracle, is the New York facility unless they file a federal appeal or ask Judge Grillo for an extension.
The family is still praying for Jahi and remains together at her bedside. Despite the family raising over $22,000 for Jahi’s possible transfer time is quickly running out. If Jahi doesn’t receive a miracle within the next few hours the family will have no other option but to allow her to finally rest in peace.
Jahi McMath’s family is racing against the clock at Children’s Hospital in Oakland. Judge Grillo has ordered that the hospital can remove her from the ventilator as of 5:00 p.m. today. The brain-dead teen has been on life support for over two weeks and might finally have the opportunity to rest in peace.
A judge has now extended Jahi McMath’s time on life support until Jan. 7, 2014. A facility in New York has agreed to take on the care for Jahi. The family says they have contracted an air ambulance willing to help in the teen’s transfer.
By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)