East Bay News

Family take legal steps to keep girl on life support

Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Jahi McMaths family stands outside Childrens Hospital Oakland Childrens Hospital Oakland logo Jahi McMath and her family Jahi McMaths family Nailah Winkfield, Marvin Winkfield, and 13-year-old daughter Jahi McMath A 13-year-old girl from Oakland is brain dead after she had surgery to have her tonsils removed at Oakland Childrens Hospital.

Late Tuesday afternoon, Children's Hospital Oakland backed off from their efforts to remove life support from 13-year-old Jahi McMath of Oakland who went in last week to have her tonsils removed. It's a move that allows the family some time to ponder their next move on how to keep their daughter alive.

Jahi's family told ABC7 News the latest round of tests still showed no brain activity, but that's not keeping the family from fighting to keep the girl on life support and it's a battle they've won, at least in the short-term.

"When I kiss her, I feel her breath..." said Nailah Winkfield, Jahi's mother.

Winkfield says all she wants is more time and late Tuesday that's what the family received word when Children's Hospital in Oakland agreed to leave the 13-year-old on life support...at least for now.

"It's just like she's sleeping and I just go in there and I pray over her and I let her know, 'We are fighting for you. Your mother will never stop fighting for you,'" said Winkfield.

"The heart is beating on its own. The assistance is for ventilation. The family has asked for nutritional support and antibiotics to be given," said attorney Christopher Dolan.

According to the family, this was the day that Children's Hospital Oakland was planning to take Jahi off life support. The hospital declared her brain dead and under California law has no obligation to keep her alive, in spite of the family's wishes.

"We're happy that they backed off. We're not on doctors' times anymore, we're on God's time. It's provided us more time to get together and pray," said Omari Sealey, Jahi's uncle.

The family claims Jahi came in for a routine tonsillectomy last week and ended up having a heart attack.

"The doctors are humans just like us. They're just humans with a degree. So I believe that God has the final say so for my daughter and I just want everyone to pray for her everywhere," said Winkfield.

Late on Tuesday, Children's Hospital offered this statement about Jahi's case: "Unfortunately, we have not been authorized by the family to share information with the public about this matter. Consequently, we are not able to correct misperceptions created about this sad situation."

Jahi's family says now there is no timetable for removing the girl from life support.

The family will hold a prayer vigil Wednesday from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., at Paradise Baptist Church in Oakland, located at 9670 Empire Road.

(Copyright ©2014 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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oakland, children, children's hospital oakland, east bay news, laura anthony
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