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Jahi McMath family working with Terri Schiavo foundation

January 2, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
The family of an Oakland girl declared brain dead is now working with a foundation started by Terri Schiavo's family.

Jahi McMath's family is trying to move the 13-year-old girl to a long-term care facility with a deadline looming for a hospital to remove her from a ventilator.

Schiavo, who suffered brain damage after a heart attack, was at the center of a right-to-die struggle in the 1990s and 2000s. Doctors, lawyers and family members battled for more than a decade over whether to remove Schiavo's feeding tube and let her die.

Her husband eventually removed her feeding tube over objections from her parents.

McMath was declared brain dead after tonsil surgery last month. Her family has expressed new optimism that they are close to moving her despite objections from Children's Hospital Oakland.

On Dec. 31, a judge extended McMath's life support - just an hour before a federal court order keeping the hospital from unhooking her was set to expire. McMath now has until Jan. 7.

The family does not believe McMath is dead, despite the fact that six physicians have determined that she is brain dead.

Children's Hospital Oakland "does not believe that performing surgical procedures on the body of a deceased person is an appropriate medical practice," the hospital said in a statement posted on its website last week.

McMath's family says they have a facility that will accept the girl on a ventilator. The hospital said any facility that takes McMath would be accepting a dead body and would have to get a coroner's approval.

ABC News contributed to this report.


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