SAN FRANCISCO — An Oakland hospital was ordered Friday to continue life support for a 13-year-old girl declared brain dead last week after having her tonsils removed.
Doctors at Children’s Hospital wanted to disconnect Jahi McMath from the ventilator that has kept her alive since she began bleeding and suffered cardiac arrest after a tonsillectomy Dec. 9. She was declared brain dead three days later.
Friday afternoon, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo granted an injunction sought by Jahi’s family to keep her alive until they got a second opinion. Grillo ordered the hospital to keep the eighth-grader on the ventilator through Monday, saying he would appoint a neurologist to examine her, the Oakland Tribune reported. Both sides have agreed on five neurologists who could be called on.
The judge scheduled another hearing for Monday.
“As long as she has a pulse, we want her on life support,” Jahi’s uncle, Omari Sealeytold the Tribune on Monday. “We want her to come home for Christmas. We want to give her presents. We want a chance for a Christmas miracle.”
Jahi had feared she would not wake up from the surgery to help with sleep apnea and weight gain, her mother, Nailah Winkfield, said in a Thursday night interview with the Associated Press. Everyone was relieved when she appeared alert in the recovery room and ate a Popsicle, but about a half-hour later she began bleeding from her mouth and nose. The hemorrhaging continued, and she went into cardiac arrest that night.
Winkfield said hospital officials told the family Thursday that they wanted to take Jahi off life support quickly.
“I just looked at the doctor to his face and I told him you better not touch her,” Winkfield told AP.
Hospital officials said privacy laws have prevented them from commenting on Jahi’s treatment. Chief of Pediatrics David Durand released a statement late Thursday asking for permission to publicly discuss her case.
“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,” he said.