Source: San Jose Mercury News
Jahi McMath, the Oakland girl who was declared brain dead after a trio of nose and throat surgeries last December, is being kept at St. Peter’s Children’s Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey, television station KPIX reported late Wednesday.
Jahi, 13, was declared brain dead after a series of operations to remove her tonsils and tissue from her nose and throat in December at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland. She continued to receive feeding and breathing support after the diagnosis as her family engaged hospital officials in a legal battle to keep the girl on organ support.
The news comes after months of speculation about the girl’s whereabouts; in January, the family won a court order allowing them to take her out of Children’s Hospital, but did not say where she was transferred.
New Jersey may have been chosen because of a 1991 state law that gives patients and their families the right to reject a medical diagnosis of brain death on medical grounds and decide whether to continue organ support.
The Alameda County Coroner’s Office issued a death certificate for Jahi before allowing her body to be released from Children’s Hospital Oakland, on the condition that once her organs shut down, the family would have to notify the coroner.
KPIX reported that she is receiving round-the-clock care and has responded to commands, moving specific parts of her body when asked.
Attorney Christopher Dolan, who represents Jahi’s family, would not comment on her location. In a statement to Bay Area News Group, he said that “Jahi’s physical condition is much better than when she was at Children’s Hospital,” adding that predictions that her organs would shut down and her heart would cease pumping had not come to pass.
“I have seen Jahi and none of what Children’s (Hospital) said would happen to her as inevitable physical death has occurred. I have seen much more movement in Jahi, response to her mother’s touch and voice and what appears to be movement in response to voice command.
“But I am not a doctor and there may be explanations for this dramatic difference in her presentation. What I can tell you is that what Children’s Hospital said would definitely occur, regardless of treatment, had not occurred…
“Treating Jahi as a living being had led to her physical condition stabilizing and then improving. The family continues to pray for improvement and expects that additional tests will be preformed to determine if she no longer meets the controversial definition of brain death.”
St. Peter’s Children’s Hospital is part of the nonprofit St. Peter’s Healthcare System and affiliated with the Catholic Church.