Regional; Jahi Mcmath Dies In New Jersey At Age 18
Jahi McMath, an Oakland teenager who was declared brain dead in 2013 after an allegedly botched sleep apnea procedure, died at age 18 at a New Jersey hospital on June 22 as a result of complications association with liver failure, her mother's attorney said.
Jahi, who was a 13-year-old eighth grade student at E.E. Reems Academy of Technology and Arts in Oakland at the time, underwent a tonsillectomy procedure at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland on Dec. 9, 2013, that was intended to cure a sleep apnea problem, which made it difficult for her to sleep.
But she suffered complications after the procedure and Children's Hospital doctors declared her brain dead three days later.
However, Jahi's family filed suit and won a court order to require the hospital to keep her on life support.
Her family later moved her to New Jersey, where they said she was kep t alive using mechanical ventilation and other measures.
San Francisco attorney Chris Dolan, who represents Jahi's mother Nailah Winkfield, said in a statement that McMath died peacefully in the presence of her mother and her stepfather Marvin.
Dolan said McMath had been living at a home in New Jersey with her mother, stepfather and her younger sister for the last four years and "will be returned to California to be buried near her family and friends."
Dolan said a preliminary death certificate lists Jahi's cause of death as bleeding as a result of liver failure.
The attorney says the death certificate notes that Jahi had been suffering from an anoxic brain injury, which occurs when the brain is deprived of oxygen, for four years.
Dolan alleged, "Jahi suffered an anoxic brain injury as the result of severe blood loss after surgery at Children's Hospital Oakland in December of 2013 when medical staff failed to treat Jahi or summon a doctor after she had undergone surgery on her tonsils, adenoids and soft palate to address a condition known as apnea."
Dolan said Winkfield was "devastated by the loss of her daughter who had showed tremendous strength and courage."
According to Dolan, Winkfield said, "Jahi has forced the world to rethink the issue of brain death."
Dolan said Harvard University recently held a symposium where Jahi's case was the discussed in detail and doctors presented papers and lectures agreeing that Jahi was not brain dead and, instead, that she presented evidence of a new level of consciousness."
Winkfield said, "My daughter died on June 22, 2018, not December 12, 2013. The doctors who were treating her at the time of her death state that she died of complications of liver failure."
Winkfield said, "Nowhere does it reference brain death. They acknowledge a prior brain injury but don't try an d call her brain dead."
Winkfield and other family members filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital on March 3, 2015.
They also filed a suit in federal court in San Francisco seeking to have the state of California and Alameda County revoke her 2013 death certificate.
Dolan said, "The fight to hold the negligent doctors who allowed Jahi to suffer a severe brain injury will continue in Alameda County Superior Court through a wrongful death action now that Jahi has died."
Dolan also said he "intends to continue to fight on behalf of Jahi through the federal civil rights case which was filed in the Northern District of California to have her hastily-prepared death certificate reversed and her date of death established as June 22, 2018."
A spokeswoman for Children's Hospital Oakland said in a statement, "At this time, our hearts go out to the family and friends of Jahi McMath. "
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