A California teenager who was determined to be brain dead following a routine procedure to remove her tonsils is set to be taken off life support because she has been declared legally dead under state law. The decision is not what the girl’s parents want, but their parental discretion has reportedly been overruled by the state.
Jahi McMath, 13, reportedly went into cardiac arrest while undergoing an operation to cure her sleep apnea earlier this month at Children’s Hospital Oakland. The teen reportedly suffered “an enormous amount of bleeding” and complications that continued in the days following the normally simple procedure.
KTVU-TV reported on Monday that the head of the hospital’s pediatrics department told the parents that their daughter had been declared dead under state law and therefore would be pulled from life support.
Omari Sealey, the girl’s uncle, said the family “didn’t want her to be removed from life support but the decision is out of our hands because it’s been declared a legal death.”
“Though the Alameda County Coroner reportedly wanted to pick up McMath’s body on Monday, hospital officials told her family that her life support would not be pulled until the next day so they could have more time with her,” KTVU-TV reports.
Dr. David Durand, the chief of Children’s pediatric department, said in a statement that the hospital is reviewing the case closely and offered his condolences to the family during “this extremely difficult time.”
In order for a person to be declared brain dead under California law, two different doctors doing two different sets of tests at least 3 hours apart must come to the same conclusion.
Additional details of McMath’s case were not immediately available because the family has asked the hospital not to release details to the media.
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(H/T: Daily Mail)