SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The 13-year-old California girl who was declared brain dead after a surgery is now in a facility where her family can take care of her, a place her uncle says that believes as much they do that she’s alive.
A critical care team took Jahi McMath while she was attached to a ventilator but without a feeding tube on Sunday night from Children’s Hospital Oakland, after a weekslong battle with the hospital over her care.
Her family wouldn’t disclose where she had been taken. Her uncle, Omari Seeley, said Monday that she traveled by ground and that there were no complications in the transfer, suggesting Jahi may be in California.
The new facility has “been very welcoming with open arms. They have beliefs just like ours,” he said. “They believe as we do.”
While the move ends what had been a very public and tense fight with the hospital, it also brings on new challenge: caring for her.
Jahi went into cardiac arrest while recovering from surgery to fix severe sleep apnea, a condition where the sufferer’s breath stops or becomes labored while sleeping. To help her, surgeons removed her tonsils and other parts of her nose and throat.
Three doctors have declared Jahi 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.
This is different from being in a coma when there is brain activity.
Multiple outside doctors and bioethicists observing the case have said a patient in that condition meets the legal criteria for death and has no chance of recovering.
The hospital had wanted to remove Jahi from the ventilator that is keeping her heart pumping, arguing in court that Jahi’s brain death means she is legally dead.