NRL News

Family of girl declared “brain-dead” asks for outside neurologist and that Jahi McMath be given a feeding tube

by | Dec 20, 2013


By Dave Andrusko

Nailah Winkfield speaks to reporters outside Oakland Children's Hospital.

Nailah Winkfield, Jahi McMath’s mother, speaks to reporters outside Oakland Children’s Hospital.

The intensity of the battle over a 13-year-old girl, declared “brain-dead” following a routine tonsillectomy performed last week ratcheted up several notches today as the attorney for the girl’s family said he would ask a judge to bring in an outside neurologist to examine Jahi McMath.

The Oakland Tribune reported that Attorney Christopher Dolan will also “request that the court order the hospital keep Jahi on life support, release medical records and give her a feeding tube.” While submitting paperwork at the Alameda County Superior Court’s probate division in Berkeley, Dolan said Children’s Hospital Oakland had been “stonewalling” the family, according to a story written by reporters Natalie Neysa Alund, David DeBolt, and Kristin J. Bender

For its part, the hospital asked that the family allow them to discuss the young girl’s case openly. In a statement Chief of Pediatrics David Durand said, “We implore the family to allow the hospital to openly discuss what has occurred and to give us the necessary legal permission — which it has been withholding — that would bring clarity, and we believe, some measure of closure and deeper understanding of this medical case.”

Dolan responded the hospital has not asked his permission to speak to the media about Jahi, at least not since he was retained. “If they asked the family to speak to the media prior to me being hired — that I don’t know,” the Oakland Tribune reported. “But since they’ve had a lawyer they never asked my clients … and we’ve been in closed-door meetings with Durand and other hospital officials.”

The Tribune story said the hospital has retained a lawyer.

Friday’s developments followed a meeting Thursday night between Dolan, the family, and hospital officials. Alund, DeBolt, and Bender reported

“Dolan and family members met with hospital officials Thursday evening to request that Jahi be kept on a ventilator at least until after the holidays, a request administrators would not agree to honor. Jahi was declared brain-dead on Dec. 12, after complications from a Dec. 9 tonsil surgery.

“Family members also said they had asked the hospital for permission to bring their own doctors to examine the girl; administrators denied that request, saying again that the girl was dead, and there would be no reason to do so.”

As reported in NRL News Today on Wednesday (“Hospital agrees not to take girl off of life-support, following cease-and-desist order, next step unclear”), tonsillectomies are one of the most common surgeries performed. The December 9, surgery, recommended to address the girl’s sleep apnea and other problems, initially appeared to have gone well.

According to CNN

“But Jahi was then moved to the intensive-care unit, and her relatives were denied access to the eighth-grader for 30 minutes; when they finally were allowed to see her, they knew something was wrong. “Upon entry, they saw that there was way too much blood” [Sandy Chatman, Jahi’s grandmother who is a nurse] said.

“We kept asking, ‘Is this normal?’” [uncle Omari] Sealey said. “Some nurses said, ‘I don’t know,’ and some said, ‘Yes.’ There was a lot of uncertainty and a lack of urgency.”

“Sealey said that when Chatman noticed that her granddaughter’s oxygen levels were dangerously low, she called for help.

“But Jahi went into cardiac arrest. The medical staff performed chest compressions to revive her and gave her clotting medications, but nothing worked.”

Categories: Uncategorized