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Calif. teen called 'brain dead' gets feeding tube

'Brain Dead' Teen Now Has Feeding, Breathing Tubes

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - The family of a 13-year-old California girl who was declared brain dead after suffering complications from sleep apnea surgery has gotten her the feeding and breathing tubes that they had been fighting for.

Christopher Dolan, the attorney for the girl's family, said doctors inserted the gastric tube and tracheostomy tube Wednesday at the undisclosed facility where Jahi McMath was taken Jan. 5.

The procedure was a success, Dolan said, and Jahi is getting the treatment that her family believes she should have gotten 28 days ago, when doctors at Children's Hospital Oakland first declared her brain dead.

Jahi underwent tonsil surgery Dec. 9, then began bleeding heavily before going into cardiac arrest and being declared brain dead Dec. 12.

Her mother has refused to believe Jahi is dead and went to court to prevent her daughter from being taken off a ventilator.

Jahi's uncle, Omari Sealey, said Monday that she is now being cared for at a facility that shares her family's belief that she still is alive.

The new facility has "been very welcoming with open arms," Sealey said. "They have beliefs just like ours."

Neither Dolan nor the family would disclose the name or location of that facility, which took the eighth-grader after a weekslong battle by her family to prevent Children's Hospital Oakland from removing her from the breathing machine that has kept her heart beating.

But medical experts said the ventilator won't work indefinitely and caring for a patient whom three doctors have said is legally dead is likely to be challenging because - unlike someone in a coma - there is no blood flow or electrical activity in either her cerebrum or the brain stem that controls breathing.

The bodies of brain dead patients kept on ventilators gradually deteriorate, eventually causing blood pressure to plummet and the heart to stop, said Dr. Paul Vespa, director of neurocritical care at the University of California, Los Angeles, who has no role in McMath's care. The process usually takes only days but can sometimes continue for months, medical experts say.

"The bodies are really in an artificial state. It requires a great deal of manipulation in order to keep the circulation going," Vespa said.

Brain-dead people may look like they're sleeping, he added, but it's "an illusion based on advanced medical techniques."

Sealey, the girl's uncle, said Monday that Jahi's mother, Nailah Winkfield, is relieved her persistence paid off and "sounds happier." He criticized Children's Hospital for repeatedly telling Winkfield they did not need her permission to remove Jahi from the ventilator because the girl was dead.

Sealey told reporters Monday that Jahi traveled by ground from Children's Hospital to the unnamed facility and there were no complications in the transfer, suggesting she may still be in California.

The $55,000 in private donations the family has raised since taking the case public helped cover the carefully choreographed handoff to the critical care team and transportation to the new location, Sealey said.

"If her heart stops beating while she is on the respirator, we can accept that because it means she is done fighting," he said. "We couldn't accept them pulling the plug on her early."

Meanwhile, an advocacy group is facing sharp criticism for using Jahi's case to try to raise money.

The nonprofit Consumer noted in an email solicitation that it fights for patient safety for families like Jahi's and that it had drafted a proposed November ballot measure that would raise medical malpractice award limits in California.

Dolan, the family attorney, is a board member of Consumer Attorneys of California, the prime group funding the ballot initiative to lift the cap on pain and suffering awards. But he said he was dismayed that Consumer Watchdog used Jahi's name as a fundraising tool.

"Using Jahi's case as an example is wrong and that is not what this case is about," he said in a text message to the Associated Press.

Hospital spokesman Sam Singer also criticized the use of Jahi's case for fundraising, calling it "tasteless and thoughtless."

Consumer Watchdog Executive Director Carmen Balber said the funds were being solicited for the organization's patient safety program, not the political campaign, and none of the money would go to the ballot measure.

"We thought we were being clear," she said. "This email has been construed in ways we didn't expect."

Consumer Watchdog's Christmas Eve email to supporters prominently mentioned the Jahi McMath case to support the need for its advocacy work and for lifting the state's 38-year-old cap on medical malpractice awards.

"Hospitals like Children's actually have an incentive to let children like Jahi die," the email said. "If kids injured by medical negligence die, the most their families can recover is $250,000. ... If children who are victims of medical negligence live, hospitals are on the hook for medical bills for life, which could be millions."

If it gets on November's ballot and passes, the Troy & Alana Pack Patient Safety Act would raise the cap on medical malpractice awards to about $1.2 million, a limit that would increase based on inflation, said Bob Pack, chair of the campaign committee. He said the group has collected about 500,000 signatures and wants 300,000 more by March 25 to assure there are enough valid ones to qualify for the ballot.

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patricrhodes January 10 2014 at 1:59 AM

I am glad to see mom fight for her child's right to survive. I have asked myself what has happened to medicine and the hypocratic oath? The day when a Dr. was excited about the prospect of saving a life that was dying and curing a disease that was deemed incurable are over. All this replaced by $ and politics. Medicine used to be a practice, now it is a matter of opinion and cutthroat tactics not backed by anything other than doctored up documentation. I have a family member that has been injured by a very careless mistake by a medical institution. Instead of trying to correct their mistake and make things right, they launched a campaign of lies and deceit to cover up the mistake. I see the same thing occurring with this beautiful child. This does not apply to all medical personnel. I could not look at a member of my profession who did something unethical and certainly not defend them when they are wrong. Someone knows what really happened and needs to step forward. They don't want this child dead for nothing. I know that they want my family member dead so that they can not be exposed.

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HI BEAUTIFUL January 10 2014 at 12:50 AM

The problem did not occur in surgery. If it did, she would be alive now. She had a tube in her trachea to breath and if she started the bleed in surgery it would have been able to be controlled. Where ever she was post op is where the trouble began. The staff apparently did not know what to do and did not call a code or doctor until too late. That is a huge problem. She choked on her blood and that same blood went in her lungs and stomach and no one tried to stop the bleeding by putting pressure on where the bleed was.

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HI BEAUTIFUL January 10 2014 at 12:44 AM

From viewing these videos it is apparent that the staff in the area that Jahi was in when she started to bleed had no idea how to handle such an emergency. There needs to be a major shakeup over this. Handing the mother a cup to catch the clots and no attempt to stop the bleeding with a pressure sponge, no suctioning and not calling a code and doctor while this was going on is unbelievable. No wonder the Chief of pediatrics and the hospital spokesman wanted to take her off life support to be able to bury their massive imcompetence. Do no one at Childrens hospital follow the basic ABC's of an emergency, AIRWAY, BLEEDING,/ BREATHING CIRCULATION. Do they not know how to call a code. Either the clot fell off or the suture failed and she had an arterial bleed. She aspirated the blood in her lungs and stomach and was not able to breath. She bled out so much that her heart stopped and there was no more circulation. I hope the family insists on a copy of the hospital chart. There were so many errors here and the hospital wanted this over before an investigation can be carried out. She was proclaimed to be brain dead, which is likely the correct diagnosis due to the inept care from this facility. It is hard for any family to accept this as the child does look like they are sleeping and not dead as they are warm, dry and have good color only because she is on life support. For Childrens hospital to regain some credibility, they need to get rid of Sam Singer and the Chief of Peds, Dr. Durand. Two of the coldest people I have ever seen and heartless. Neither of them have any compassion for the family and the way they handled this case has made me make sure that no person I know that would be thinking of taking their precious child there to look elsewhere to have their child cared for. This NEVER should have happened, The girl was according to reports either in ICU or the Recovery room. I had to be certified for ADVENCED LIFE SUPPORT AND PEDIATRIC LIFE SUPPORT to be able to work in Recovery and ICU. Why was a house doctor never called in the beginning of the bleed and why did the staff in the unit the girl was in not know what to do. This is according to what the girl's grandmother who is a nurse stated. As far as stating the girl is in bad shape and not getting any nutrition since Dec 8 as they cannot eat or drink past midnight the day before surgery. The hospital should have for humanatrian reasons had a trach and feeding tube inserted. Hospital fought tooth and nail to stop any treatments. Probably nothing can be done to make her whole again, but one never knows what miracle can happen, no matter how unlikely. Reality says that she will not recover, but if prayer has any power and their beliefs, who can say what will happen. God bless her and her family. Stay away from Childrens hospital Oakland. The staff should have IMMEDIATELY call a code when she started to bleed.

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HI BEAUTIFUL January 10 2014 at 12:12 AM

Lets see if this post will go through as none of the others have.

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S M January 09 2014 at 11:59 PM

She is a great candidate for a head transplant.

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1 reply to S M's comment
HI BEAUTIFUL January 10 2014 at 12:45 AM

Don't be an *******, oh, too late for that you are one.

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Marian January 09 2014 at 11:52 PM

Who is this Diana sunshine bible thumping every one at every turn... No, I dont have children...but if I did, and he/she were in the state this child is in.. I would let them go..They are not living...a machine is doing all the work... Yes, I believe in God, but I don't believe He would want that child to suffer.... Who are we to play God? You cannot tell God what is right, like Diana sunshine in her overly long 'prayer'...... I also agree with one of the other comment writers, the family is using the child as cash-cow and for their own fame.. selfishness... To Diana Sunshine, how will you feel if your lengthy prayer goes unanswered?

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Marj January 09 2014 at 11:52 PM

I am very happy that this family got the feeding tube and breathing tube for their little girl. This situation is so sad. I pray that she will come out of this, but if it is time for her to be with God, the family will know that they have done everything they possibly could to save her. There is no worse pain than what they are going through. God Bless you all during this time.

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itsdebthedoo January 09 2014 at 11:44 PM

Everyone has an opinion. But no one knows how they will really feel until they are faced with such a situation. The center of this conflict is the fact that her family, those who knew her, have the right to choose how they want to treat her. Just as another family might choose to remove life support. It is a matter of the right to choice, and the time to grieve. The cost will come out of CHO's pockets. The lessons learned will likely impact practice in hospitals, meaning Jahi will save the lives of others. This is not to imply wrong doing, but to suggest that we may find ways to do better. She is not suffering, her brain has ceased to function. Every once in awhile a tragedy strikes that generates discussion and allows us to examine our selves, our collective culture, and our beliefs. This is the case with Jahi and her family. God spare me the walk in their shoes.

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Diana Sunshine January 09 2014 at 10:43 PM

Father your word says where two or three are touching and agreeing you're in our midst. The bible reads: "Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven (Father we bind up the spirit of death, sickness and disease... from over Jahi's life), and whatever we loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven (we loose TOTAL WELL BEING, healing first to her brain! I declare and decree healing to the surface of Jahi's brain and then beneath the surface to the Cerebellum, the Cortex, Spinal Cord, the Frontal Lobe and every other part of the Sagittal Section of her brain. Father she is created in your image so speak to the message center in Jahi's Brain, let her hear your voice wooing her back to this side of life. Gove her parents the WORDS to speak life as the medical or health care team works on the natural. Without your spirit we all would be dead so as you did with Adam, BREATH on this child the breath of life. I don't speak as if she's dead because that would suggest doubt but rather I suggest as the Psalmist: JAHI SHALL NOT DIE BUT LIVE AND DECLARE YOUR WORKS O LORD. We are calling those things that are not as though they were.)." Nothing just happens so in this season as Jahi lay awaiting the manifestation of your healing. Work on every member of her family. Move mightily in their lives. I lift up the lawyer fighting on their behalf. I lift up the Uncle and Grandmother, I lift up every person that makes up her support system. Thank you God for every selfless person that has sewn financial seed to help this family pay for Jahi's care and transfer. Im not certain where the facility is but bless them 100 fold however this ends for their willingness to defy mans death sentence and fight for this child's life. Don't let all this be in vain. Work it out for the good of every believer, let man be a lie... I bind up sleep apnea, I loose free flowing oxygen to Jahi's lungs and respiratory system (the Nasal cavity, Vocal Cord, Diaphragm+). Father cleanse her colon and free her of any possible urinary problems (please Sir, cover Jahi's kidneys, liver and even her reproductive system with your blood). I bind up clogged arteries, traveling blood clogs/clots and any other type of blockage that may ordinarily hinder such a state of being! I release clear proper functioning arteries, I command that the Aortic valve line up with your original plan for its use. We thank you now for the free flow of Circulation through out Jahi's body from her brain through her veins and every other Blood Circuit in her body. Your word says that life is in the BLOOD! EMMANUEL ""GOD WITH JAHI" thank you for this child's life and the blood running warm in her veins. I believe I heard someone say in one of the videos above she was not cold but warm. With that warmth their displays the sign of life. I believe I further hear it stated the physician on the case now reported "she's not dead because her heart has rhythm" unquote. Father, I declare there will be no cardiac issues, I speak to the Posterior Heart and every intricate detail thereof. You govern every part of Jahi's Circulatory System. Oh I thank you Lord. I thank you Lord, Father God I thank you! Thank you for the proper functioning of Jahi's Nervous System and Father if there is anything we fail to mention in this prayer I'm so glad that you're Omni present (every where at the same time); I'm glad that you created these bodies so you already know its proper function... As every believer standing in the gap and looking for a miracle for Jahi, we may not be physically in the same geographical place but we are with one spirit. We are great in number... Father the last function we lift up to you is mobility... thank you for Jahi's Body Muscle head to foot... Matthew 18:18-20 "19 Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. v 20 for where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them."

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marnie.gi January 09 2014 at 11:45 PM

In The name of Jesus Christ we say life and not death - we believe in your resurrection power God, That which raised our Lord and Savior from death. Nothing is impossible with you Lord. I agree with my sister Diana and stand with with her by faith in agreement for the complete healing of Jahi McMath. We declare LIFE in Jesus name. We bind the enemy and doubt. We again say "Let God be true and every man a liar ( Roman 3:4) If there are more believers on the site who are open to pray please join in as we declare Life over this precious daughter of the Lord. To Jahi's Mom and Grandmother and other relatives,her uncle etc. We are believing with you and we are warring with you in prayer. We love you and bless you in Jesus name! One can put a 1000 to flight and two 10,000. W\e have been given authority in Christ Jesus, as heirs and joint heirs of Jesus Christ. As believers who are in Christ Jesus we too sit in heavenly places with Him and declare that the devil is under our feet. We have authority in Christ Jesus to speak those things not as though they were and to declare by faith the working of Gods miraculous moving hand. Breath your breath life in and over this child and let it be so!. (Re-declaring some declarations prayed by Diana) In your name Jesus we pray amen

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Barb January 09 2014 at 10:27 PM

While my heart breaks for any family to lose their child, I can't help but think of all the children that COULD be saved if this family would donate her organs so other can live because of their daughter.
God Bless this child and take her quickly.

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