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Brain-dead girl moved from California hospital

Tonsillectomy Brain Dead GirlOAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - The 13-year-old California girl declared brain dead after a tonsillectomy has been taken out of Children's Hospital of Oakland, her family's attorney said late Sunday.

Jahi McMath left the hospital in a private ambulance shortly before 8 p.m. Sunday, Christopher Dolan told The Associated Press.

She was taken by a critical care team while attached to a ventilator but without a feeding tube, Dolan said. Her destination was not immediately disclosed.

"It was a very tense situation," said Dolan. "Everybody played by the rules."

David Durand, the hospital's Chief of Pediatrics, said the girl was released to the coroner. The coroner then released her into the custody of her mother, Nailah Winkfield, as per court order, Durand said in an email.

On Friday Alameda County Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo said Jahi could be transferred under an agreement with Children's Hospital and the girl's mother will be held accountable for developments that could include Jahi going into cardiac arrest.

The Alameda County coroner's office issued a death certificate for the girl Friday but said the document is incomplete because no cause of death has been determined pending an autopsy.

"They may have issued one but we don't have it. We don't think she's dead," Dolan said. "We got all the necessary legal paperwork in order to get Jahi out of there."

A court injunction prohibiting Children's Hospital from removing the ventilator that has kept Jahi's heart pumping since her Dec. 9 surgery expires at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Dolan wouldn't specify where the girl was taken but he said "they are going to care for her, respect her and love her. And they're going to call her Jahi, not 'the body.'"

After spending weeks in a very public and tense fight with the hospital, Jahi's family does not plan to disclose any more about their plans for her continued care until she is resettled, her uncle, Omari Sealey, told reporters on Friday.

The hospital has argued since before Christmas that Jahi's brain death means she is legally dead and she should be disconnected from the ventilator. It also has refused to fit her with a feeding tube or a breathing tube that would help stabilize her during a move, saying it was unethical to perform medical procedures on a dead person.

Hospital spokesman Sam Singer said officials were not informed where the girl was being taken.

"We hope that the family finds peace in this very, very tragic story," he said.

Winkfield, refusing to believe her daughter is dead as long as her heart is beating, has gone to court to stop the machine from being disconnected. She has wanted to transfer Jahi to another facility and hoped to force Children's Hospital either to insert the tubes or to allow an outside doctor to do the procedures.

Grillo on Friday rejected the family's move to have the hospital insert the tubes, noting the girl could be moved with the ventilator and intravenous fluid lines she has now. He also refused to compel the hospital to permit an outside doctor perform the procedures on its premises.

Dolan said Friday the family has located an unaffiliated physician to put in the tubes and that an outpatient clinic in New York that treats people with traumatic brain injures has expressed willingness to care for Jahi.

Jahi went into cardiac arrest while recovering from surgery to remove her tonsils, adenoids and uvula along with bony structures from her nose and throat and palate tissue. Three doctors have declared the girl brain dead based on exams and tests showing no blood flow or electrical activity in either her cerebrum or the brain stem that controls breathing.

Multiple outside doctors and bioethicists observing the case have confirmed that a patient in that condition meets the legal criteria for death and has no chance of recovering.

The judge earlier this week ordered Children's Hospital to keep Jahi on the ventilator until Jan. 7 at 5 p.m. He said Friday that he would dissolve the injunction as soon as Winkfield assumes custody of her daughter's body.

Hospital spokesman Sam Singer said that if the girl is not transferred by the deadline, her family would have to seek an extension or the ventilator would be removed.
Jahi McMath Released From Calif. Hospital

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Ms.1FtintheGrave January 06 2014 at 9:27 AM

This is such a very tragic story! As a mother, I can totally understand how Jahi's mother is feeling! I've lost 2 children, as well as a fiance, a husband, and both of my parents! It is almost unbearable to lose a loved one, especially a child. I haven't read, in any of the articles covering this family's pain, if Jahi is Ms. Winkfield's only child. If so, that would make it even more difficult for her to let her go! However, I believe Jahi's family needs to ask themselves, what would Jahi want? Her picture shows a beautiful, life loving young lady! Would that same young lady, want to be kept alive by machine's? Hooked up to tubes and wires, etc, until her family can finally let her go? I asked my youngest daughter (19 yrs old today) if that would be what she would want, if she were in the same situation. She thought about it, and gave me a very emphatic no! Jahi's mother, said she wouldn't let her daughter be removed from life support as long as her heart was beating. However, the only reason her heart is still beating, is because she's hooked up to a machine! If the good Lord meant for Jahi to remain on this earthly plane, he would have given the family a miracle by now! I truly believe that Ms. Winkfield and the rest of Jahi's family, must let her physical husk go, as I'm sure her soul has left her already! Only then can the family start healing and get on with living! I didn't know Jahi, but looking into her eyes in her photo, I don't believe she would want her family to keep her on machines, tubes, and wires for months or years, knowing that until they let her "body" go, they can't start the healing! I will keep you in my prayers. I know God will give you the strength to do what is right! Let Jahi's physically body go, as her soul has already gone on to heaven! Peace be with you!

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Andrea January 06 2014 at 10:26 AM

This is a very sad and tragic story that any family would have a difficult time in this position. Media attention can make such a personal emotional loss even more complicated and painful. It appears that Jahi was a beautiful girl with lots of hopes and dreams that will be lost. I'm sorry for your loss. I pray that you find peace in your coming decision making it will be hard. It may be helpful to read the prior entry of the person with brain trauma injury. I believe it merits some consideration. I give you a tissue to wipe your tears on your long journey toward healing from such a painful sad occasion. God Bless.

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1 reply
sylvabugg2 Andrea January 06 2014 at 11:00 AM

Yes, but unfortunately she did not suffer brain injury, but brain death, there's a big difference. There is always some chance of recovery at some level with brain injury, even severe. But with complete brain death there is none. Even if no brain activity can be found, as long as the brain stem still functions there can be some hope. This is not the case here. The brain stem, the most primitive part of the brain, responsible for autonomic function such as heartbeat and breathing, is not functioning. There is no hope. When the brain is this badly damaged, it won't come back.

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sdshantasi January 06 2014 at 10:36 AM

If no one else in the mother's circle are aware, the lawyer should at least know that the coroner would not get involved at all if the child was alive.

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kkorkor January 06 2014 at 10:41 AM

WHAT PEOPLE DON'T REALIZE IS THAT THE BRAIN IN THE NUMBER ONE ORGAN IN YOUR BODY AND WHEN IT DOES NOT FUNCTION EVERY OTHER ORGAN EVENTUALLY STOP WORKING.

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1 reply
lawman4634 kkorkor January 06 2014 at 10:43 AM

Well, I think the brain is the #2 organ. From my experience, the #1 organ overrides the brain every time!

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Brenda January 06 2014 at 10:43 AM

If God wants the body to continue in this state then disconnect man's intervention, the breathing tube, and see what happens.

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wnstnrace1 January 06 2014 at 10:45 AM

This is Terri Shaivo all over again....let her go already, quit grandstanding for the media.

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Claudia January 06 2014 at 1:46 PM

What we believe about death and dying is highlighted by this situation. As a nurse with many years experience I know this child is dead. The body has a heart beat only because the ventilator provides oxygen. No ventilator, no oxygen, the heart can not survive for any extended period without oxygen. So unplug or disconnect her from the ventilator and the body dies. This is very difficult for many people outside the medical community to understand. The child still looks like a living human being because her chest rises and falls with the ventilator. Her limbs are warm and her color is normal. The response that the mother is seeing is only neurologic in other words it is not purposeful. The brain can no longer decide to make a motion. But the nervous system has some residual movements. The motions are decerebrate or decorticate posturing. Both of which indicate serious injury to the brain. This motion has convinced many an individual that their loved one is alive. Unfortunately this is only an appearance of life. The essence of this child is gone. I personally believe that the soul and the intellect are connected. So no brain function means to me that the soul has passed on. This is a very personal view of death developed after years of taking care of critically ill and injured patients. I hope that Jahi's family can find the strength they need to deal with this terrible situation.

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5 replies
roscoebj21 January 06 2014 at 1:38 PM

We all have compassion for this situation. To bring racism into this is totally ignorant. This family has lost a child but will not accept that fact. True a miracle is needed at this point. However the reality of the situation is that this poor girl is being kept breathing only by machines. May the Lord accept this young child into his Loving arms and comfort come into this family to accept the given

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agnesctrs January 06 2014 at 10:51 AM

Praying for this child and her family.

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nordengto January 06 2014 at 1:37 PM

This family is in our prayers. It is so easy for others to judge, until they are in the other persons shoes. We should see reasons for how others see things . Their are two sides to every coin, yet the value remains the same.

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1 reply
calderasf nordengto January 06 2014 at 1:51 PM

There aren't two sides to being dead.

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