By Dave Andrusko
Having reached an accommodation with Children’s Hospital Oakland, the family of Jahi McMath on Sunday moved the teenager, diagnosed as brain dead, to an as yet unnamed New York facility where the 13 year old has been accepted as a patient. There were numerous reports last week that New Beginnings Center in Medford, New York had agreed to take Jahi in and care for her around the clock.
The family’s attorney, Christopher Dolan, said Jahi will be hooked up to a feeding tube and a tracheotomy tube by this morning.
Jahi has been on a ventilator since going into cardiac arrest following December 9 surgery to remove her tonsils and clear tissue from her nose and throat. She remained on a ventilator during the transfer. She was diagnosed as brain-dead December 12 and the legal battle began in earnest when the hospital sought to remove Jahi from a ventilator.
The arraignment was reached during a hearing Friday before Alameda Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo that allowed Jahi’s mother, Nailah Winkfield, to remove her daughter from the hospital as long as Jahi’s mother assumed full responsibility.
“Alameda County Sheriff’s Office spokesman J.D. Nelson said Friday that a death certificate had been issued for Jahi, but Dolan insisted in Sunday’s interview that ‘she has not passed. Her kidneys function, she regulates her temperature and her body moves now more than ever. This is a real human being, not a dead body.’”
Dolan said, “This family knows the odds are way stacked against them,” and that “This family knows that they need nothing short of a miracle but what this family wanted was a chance.”
Dolan added, “This is about a girl named Jahi McMath. But this is also about every parent being able to have the right to make a choice for their child, not a hospital making that choice for them.”
Hospital spokesman Sam Singer vigorously disagreed.
“We have done everything to assist the family of Jahi McMath in their quest to take the deceased body of their daughter to another medical facility,” he said. Singer told reporters that Dolan is “perpetuating a sad and tragic hoax on the public and the McMath family. Tragically, this young woman is dead, and there is no food, no medical procedures and no amount of time that will bring back the deceased.”
The funds needed to pay to fly Jahi to the New York facility came from private donations.