Feeding and breathing tubes inserted into Jahi McMath, family attorney says surgery “a success”


By Dave Andrusko

Attorney Christopher Dolan, left, who's representing the family of Jahi McMath, tweeted Wednesday that since having her feeding tubes re-inserted 'she is doing very well.' photo: BEN MARGOT/AP

Attorney Christopher Dolan, left, who’s representing the family of Jahi McMath, tweeted Wednesday that since having her feeding tubes re-inserted ‘she is doing very well.’

The lawyer for the family of Jahi McMath, the 13-year-old who has been declared brain dead, said Wednesday that doctors successfully inserted a gastric tube and tracheotomy tube into the teenager at an as yet undisclosed facility.

Jahi was transferred from Oakland Children’s Hospital January 5 after a protracted legal battle between the family and the hospital which declared Jahi brain dead December 12 and sought to remove her from a ventilator.

The arraignment to move Jahi was reached during a hearing Friday before Alameda Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo under which Jahi’s mother, Nailah Winkfield, could remove her daughter from the hospital as long as she assumed full responsibility.

Christopher Dolan told reporters that Jahi’s health is “improving,” and labeled the surgery “a success.”

“She is doing very well and getting the treatment she should have gotten 28 days ago,” Dolan said in a text message, according to the Oakland Tribune. “Doctors are optimistic that her condition has stabilized and that her health is improving from when she was taken from Children’s Hospital Oakland.”

Illustrating the daily ebb and flow, on Monday, Dolan was far less optimistic. “She’s in very bad shape,” he said, adding examinations show Jahi’s medical condition “is not good.”

The hospital reiterated its position that Jahi is brain dead. Deterioration “became inevitable the moment she died,” according to Dr. Heidi Flori, a critical care physician at Children’s Hospital.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Dr. Flori said in a court declaration filed in U.S. District Court that “The medical team and I believe that additional and more dramatic signs of the body’s deterioration will continue to manifest over time, regardless of any procedures and regardless of any heroic measures that any facility in the country might attempt.”

At the recommendation of doctors Jahi underwent an operation on December 9 to remove her tonsils, adenoids and extra sinus tissue to treat pediatric obstructive sleep apnea.

Afterwards “The teen girl was alert and talking to doctors after the procedure, even asking for a Popsicle because her throat hurt,” CNN reported. “That was a relief in some ways because she’d expressed concerns to her family about the surgery, fearing she would never wake up from it, her uncle has said.”

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