Jahi McMath’s family seeks to move brain-dead girl to another facility

Jahi McMath (photo courtesy Omari Sealey via CNN)

Jahi McMath (photo courtesy Omari Sealey via CNN)

(CNN) — The family of 13-year-old Jahi McMath hopes to transfer the girl to another facility.

A judge has concluded that Jahi, who suffered complications after tonsil surgery, is brain dead.

“Yesterday we spent Christmas together as a family — doing a lot of prayers and trying to have some fun, hoping for a miracle, and looks like we may have gotten our miracle. We found out that someone is willing to take Jahi away from Children’s Hospital to a facility nearby here in the Bay Area to treat her,” Jahi’s uncle, Omari Sealey, told reporters Thursday.

“So right now, we’re asking Children’s Hospital to work with us to make that possible,” he said, referring to Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland.

Sealey declined to identify the other facility.

Jahi was declared brain dead by doctors at the hospital on December 12, three days after tonsil surgery.

The case has drawn national attention and sparked protests from some local leaders who say the hospital should have provided better care.

On Monday, a judge appointed Dr. Paul Fisher, chief of pediatric neurology at Stanford Children’s Hospital, to evaluate Jahi as an independent expert. Fisher testified Tuesday that Jahi meets the criteria for brain death.

Alameda Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo previously ruled that the hospital must hold off on any decisions regarding discontinuing life support until December 30, and the judge encouraged both sides to work together.

Family attorney Christopher Dolan told reporters Thursday that Jahi would need to have tracheostomy and gastrostomy tubes put in before she could be moved.

“The most logical people are the ones in the hospital where she’s sitting who have the ability to do that. If they refuse to do that, and insist upon moving towards this deadline of pulling the plug, then we’ll just continue to do what we’ve been doing,” he said.

Chief of Pediatrics David Durand responded in a statement for Children’s Hospital.

“Judge Grillo was very clear on Tuesday December 24. He ruled Jahi McMath to be deceased and instructed the hospital to maintain the status quo. Judge Grillo did not authorize or order any surgical procedures or transfer to another facility.

“Children’s Hospital Oakland does not believe that performing surgical procedures on the body of a deceased person is an appropriate medical practice. Children’s Hospital Oakland continues to extend its wishes for peace and closure to Jahi McMath’s family,” he said.

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