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New York hospital could be last resort for young victim of botched operation

APTOPIX Tonsillectomy-Brain-Dead-Girl

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - The family of a 13-year-old girl who has been declared brain dead after complications from a tonsil surgery said Saturday a hospital in New York may be able to accept her and keep her on life support.

Jahi McMath's uncle and lawyer wouldn't provide the hospital's name, saying they don't want media attention to hurt her chance of being accepted and transferred there.

"It's an organization that believes in life," attorney Chris Dolan told the Associated Press.

"It's our last, last hope," he said after two facilities in California that agreed to accept Jahi decided to back out.

A nursing home in the San Francisco Bay Area that had been willing to care for the girl if she had two tubes inserted changed its mind. Dolan said a facility in the Los Angeles area also withdrew its offer because it didn't want media attention or to jeopardize its relationship with its doctors, who refused to treat someone who's been declared brain dead.

Time is short for the family, as Alameda County Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo on Tuesday ruled that the Children's Hospital Oakland may remove Jahi from a ventilator at 5 p.m. Monday unless an appeal is filed.

Jahi underwent a tonsillectomy at the hospital on Dec. 9 to treat sleep apnea. After she awoke from the operation, her family said, she started bleeding heavily from her mouth and went into cardiac arrest. Doctors at Children's Hospital concluded the girl was brain dead on Dec. 12 and wanted to remove her from life support. The family said they believe she is still alive.

Before Jahi can be transferred, she must undergo two more medical procedures - the insertion of a breathing tube and a feeding tube.

"Children's Hospital Oakland does not believe that performing surgical procedures on the body of a deceased person is an appropriate medical practice," David Durand, its chief of pediatrics, said in a statement Thursday.

Douglas Straus, a lawyer for the hospital, said in a letter made public Friday that before the hospital would comply with the family's request to move Jahi, it would need to speak directly with officials at any nursing home to make sure they understand her condition, "including the fact that Jahi is brain dead" - and to discuss needed preparations, including transportation.

"Children's Hospital will of course continue to do everything legally and ethically permissible to support the family of Jahi McMath. In that regard, Children's will allow a lawful transfer of Jahi's body in its current state to another location if the family can arrange such a transfer and Children's can legally do so," Straus wrote in the letter.

He also said the Alameda County coroner needed to sign off on the move "since we are dealing with the body of a person who has been declared legally dead."

Dolan said he had already obtained signed consent from the coroner for Jahi's transfer.

The Alameda County Coroner's Bureau said it had no comment.

He said Saturday he was waiting to hear from the New York hospital after its facility director and medical director speak.

Hospital spokeswoman Cynthia Chiarappa said the hospital has not heard from any facility to discuss how it can accommodate "a deceased body on a ventilator."

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nancy1ann December 29 2013 at 5:13 PM

letting go is the most tough part of life....may god grant them the grace to do what is right for thier daughter....amen.....my thougths and prayers are with Jahi

Flag Reply +3 rate up
sondravvag December 29 2013 at 6:08 PM

This is a horrible tragedy and thankfully, I speak as an RN, this is a very rare happening. The family needs time to accept that she has passed and the hospital should give this to them. Nothing is going to change when things have gotten this far. Hopefully they will get the support from family, friends, clergy, and the medical people to get through this and let the poor child die in peace. By all accounts, if she is brain dead she is gone. Very heartbreaking for the family and the hospital's personel.

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katieroos8 December 29 2013 at 11:32 AM

let her go in peace.

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1 reply
ggblank1603 katieroos8 December 29 2013 at 12:20 PM

She's gone

Flag Reply 0 rate up
tayo1634 December 29 2013 at 6:17 PM

As a parent myself, I say may God bring you peace during this horrific time. May you find joy in the memories that will live on in your heart! You are amazing parents who have shown your love and dedication to your child!

As a medical professional working with mentally and physically disabled youth, I say please remember in your decision that your "daughter" is gone. You will begin a new relationship with the person who may or may not respond. And the response will not necessarily be an awareness of who you are. She will require life long high medical needs care even if she does improve. It's an expense and emotional & physical toll that will last a lifetime. Many of my clients had family involvement the first 5 yrs. Now, I and their team of medical staff & therapists are the only regular visitors. It changes the lives of the living as well. Please understand your daughter may be "alive" but she is not "living". The most generous thing you can do for her is to donate the part of her that is "living". Her organs will allow one or many other little girls to "live" on through her precious gift of LIFE!

I pray for you and your family throughout this heartbreaking time!

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poppiscw December 29 2013 at 11:29 AM

Let her go in peace. Amen

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mrstrollmt December 29 2013 at 6:23 PM

her soul has already gone to be with God,only her body remains so let her go.by moving her could make it worse.God bless you all.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
jpaker.rn December 29 2013 at 11:25 AM

As a nurse I see this sort of stuff too often. Do you have any idea what this kind of life is like? Tubes in any place they can stick tubes. What a horrible life. It won't be long until she has "bed sores". I'm also a mother and couldn't imagine what losing a child is like, but LET HER GO. Let her be at peace. Keeping her alive is NOT in her best interest. It's a VERY selfish thing to do. They are doing what is best for them not what is best for her. I wish this family much love while dealing with this. Please remember this is NOT God keeping her alive, this is science. Let her little body rest and be a peace.

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1 reply
mshaw1248 jpaker.rn December 29 2013 at 11:37 AM

AM ALSO AN REG NURSE MANY YEARS HAVE SEEN EVERYTHING BUT THIS CASE IS TELLING ME THE BLEED STARTED WAY BEFORE THEY SAW BLOOD COMING OUT OF MOUTH SOUNDS LIKE A LACERATED BLOOD VESSEL UNNOTICED BY SURGICAL TEAM ALSO WHAT ABOUT VITALS POST OP CLEARLY THAT WOULD HAVE ALERTED STAFF TO REACT MORE QUICKLY WASNT THERE A DR IN THE RECOVERY AREA RESPONDING MOTHER STATED SHE HAD TO GET DR ON BOARD AS SHE HELD DISH BY HER MOUTH TO CONTAIN BLOOD OR CARDIAC ARREST WAS GOING TO HAPPEN ANYWAYS ANY SURGICAL PROCEDURE IS AT RISK TELL FAMILY SHE IS NO LONGER WHAT THEY WANT HER TO BE OR EVER WILL BE CANT IMAGINE YOUNG GIRL FEEDING TUBES VENT FOLEYS SHE WONT MAKE IT EITHER WAY SYMPATHY FOR FAMILY OTHER SIBLINGS ARE IN NEED NOW MOM PLEASE TAKE CARE OF THEM ITS NOT ABOUT YOUR NEEDS NOW

Flag Reply +2 rate up
1 reply
campbell1221 mshaw1248 December 29 2013 at 12:29 PM

You don't sound like an RN. I would hope most Registered Nurses are better educated when it comes to punctuation and writing than you are.

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mors571 December 29 2013 at 11:24 AM

let this young girl rest please

Flag Reply +4 rate up
GRAC MONIZ December 29 2013 at 11:22 AM

i feel for the family but they have to realize the child is really alive, her body is there but she is gone and noone wants to admit they will never see them again but they just have to let her lie in peace, i know i have been ther. prayers for them

Flag Reply +2 rate up
zooplbr December 29 2013 at 11:22 AM

As hard as it is...let this baby go home. These people are not doing this for the child but rather for themselves. It is understandab

Flag Reply +3 rate up
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