Thirteen-year-old Jahi McMath underwent a routine procedure at the Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland on December 9. Shortly after the procedure, Jahi began suffering complications including bleeding after the surgery, going into cardiac arrest and ultimately being declared brain dead on December 12.
Not only is their controversy on why a routine tonsillectomy would cause brain damage, their is also controversy surrounding whether or not to take Jahi off of life-support. The hospital has been firm in saying that there is no way that Jahi's current condition could be reversed or cured, and have been persistent in wanting to take her off of the ventilator. "We have the deepest sympathy for Jahi's mother, who wishes her daughter was alive; but the ventilator cannot reverse the brain death that has occurred and it would be wrong to give false hope that Jahi will ever come back to life," Dr. David Durand, the hospital's chief of pediatrics, said in a statement on Monday.
However, Jahi's mother Nailah Winkfield says she is not going to give up without a fight, and wants to keep her daughter here with her for as long as possible. "I'm her mother. I'm going to support her. It's my job to do it. Any mother would do it," Winkfield said. "I just want her to have more time. There are so many stories of people waking up in her situation."
— Allie Rasmus (@AllieRasmus) December 23, 2013
Winkfield says she is also irate that the hospital has yet to provide her with an explanation as to why her daughter had such severe complications. "They have not given me a reason yet of why she went into cardiac arrest. They haven't even given me a reason for her bleeding. They haven't given me a reason that they couldn't stop the bleeding," she said. "The only thing they keep pushing for me is to get her off their ventilator."
Despite the hospital's arguments on providing extensive medical care for someone the perceive as dead, the court has ordered that Jahi be kept on the ventilator until, at least, December 30, so that an expert neurologist can evaluate her. While this isn't a complete win for Jahi, her family says it is a step in the right direction, and that they are happy to get to spend Christmas with her.
"We're not totally satisfied," she said. "But we do feel like we are finally being heard, and that this is a step toward making sure that Jahi is still alive on Christmas, and that's been very important to us since the beginning of this whole thing."
Image via NDN