OAKLAND, Calif. – The family of a girl who was declared brain dead after complications from a tonsillectomy wants to transfer her to a nursing home that is willing to keep caring for her even though doctors have said she is beyond recovery, a lawyer said Thursday.
Before the nursing home can accept the 13-year-old as a patient, however, doctors at Children's Hospital Oakland need to surgically insert breathing and feeding tubes into Jahi McMath that would allow the new facility to keep her body functioning, the lawyer, Christopher Dolan, told The Associated Press.
David Durand, the hospital's chief of pediatrics, said the hospital would not cooperate with Jahi's transfer to another facility. The judge did not authorize or order any transfer or surgery, Durand said in a statement released Thursday evening.
"Children's Hospital Oakland does not believe that performing surgical procedures on the body of a deceased person is an appropriate medical practice," he said.
Dolan declined to identify the facility where the family would like Jahi to go, but he said it is located in the San Francisco Bay Area and is not equipped to perform surgeries. Dolan said he was put in touch with the facility by a group of Catholic doctors.
"Our position is, 'You don't want her, that's clear.' ... We are trying to find somebody who will see her other than a dead piece of meat and will treat her, help us get her out of there and into the arms of someone who will care for her rather than putting her in a body bag," said Dolan, who is representing Jahi's mother.
Children's Hospital has moved to take Jahi off life support, an action her family went to court to stop. A doctor at Children's Hospital and a court-appointed outside expert both concluded that she cannot recover because her brain is not functioning.
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo gave the hospital permission to remove the Jahi's ventilator, but not until 5 p.m. Monday so the mother has time to appeal.
Jahi's uncle, Omari Sealey, said at a news conference that the family spent Christmas with Jahi, praying together for a miracle.
"It looks like we may have found a miracle to keep Jahi alive," Sealey said, "and to give her another fighting chance to wake up."
Jahi underwent tonsil surgery at Children's Hospital this month to treat sleep apnea. After she awoke from the operation, her family said, she started bleeding heavily from her mouth and went into cardiac arrest.
Dolan said the surgical procedure and Jahi's long-term care would be paid for by medical insurance.