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Jahi McMath case: Hospital says it will help move brain-dead girl

Jahi McMath, 13, was left brain dead after having her tonsils removed to help with sleep apnea at Oakland Children's Hospital Monday, Dec. 9, 2013.

December 27, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
An Oakland hospital says it is willing to help transfer a girl who has been declared brain-dead after complications from a tonsillectomy to a long-term nursing home, but only under certain conditions.

The family of Jahi McMath says there is a nursing home willing to keep the 13-year old on life support. Earlier this week, a judge ruled that Children's Hospital Oakland is not required to keep her on life support past Dec. 30 after a second doctor declared McMath brain dead.

A lawyer for Children's Hospital said that the hospital needs to talk directly with the nursing home before it complies with the family's request to transfer the girl.

The letter was sent to the family's lawyer, Christopher Dolan, after he said he was preparing a federal civil rights lawsuit to force the hospital to insert McMath with breathing and feeding tubes - surgical procedures Dolan said she would need to keep her body functioning at the new facility.

The hospital had said earlier that it will not do the procedures, stating the judge did not authorize or order any transfer or surgery. It said it "does not believe that performing surgical procedures on the body of a deceased person is an appropriate medical practice" and that it "continues to extend its wishes for peace and closure to Jahi McMath's family."

But the attorney for Jahi's family, Chris Dolan, argues that Jahi is not dead.

"Whose definition of death are we taking? The court made a determination about a technical definition of brain death. I have spent time with Jahi. She is breathing with the assistance of this tube," said Dolan.

McMath underwent tonsil surgery at Children's Hospital on Dec. 9 to treat sleep apnea. Her family said that after the procedure, she started bleeding heavily from her mouth and went into cardiac arrest.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.