Mother of Teenager Diagnosed as Brain-Dead Writes that She is Not Suffering and is “Much Better Physically”

NRL News Today
February 20, 2014   Brain Death

Mother of teenager diagnosed as brain-dead writes that she is not suffering and is “much better physically”

By Dave Andrusko

Jahi McMath and mom

Jahi McMath and mom

In the letter sent via Facebook to KTVU Channel 2 news anchor Frank Somerville, the mother of Jahi McMath has thanked those who have supported the family, assuring the public that her daughter is not suffering and “that she is much better physically since she has left Children’s Hospital and I see changes that give me hope.”

“(Jahi’s mother) wanted me to get the letter out because there’s been a lot of speculation,” Jahi’s uncle, Omari Sealey, told the Oakland Tribune. “There’s been a lot of people, supporters, wanting to know what’s going on. We want people to know (Jahi is) OK.” He did not provide specifics about her condition.

Following December 9 surgery to remove her tonsils, adenoids and extra sinus tissue to treat pediatric obstructive sleep apnea, the 13-year-old Jahi began to bleed profusely and went into cardiac arrest. Three days later the hospital declared her to be brain-dead. That diagnosis was confirmed by Dr. Paul Fisher, a court-appointed pediatric neurologist from Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital.

A tremendous legal battle ensued when the hospital sought to remove her from a ventilator and the family refused. The hospital would not insert a feeding tube and a tracheotomy tube, as the family requested, vehemently arguing that Jahi was legally dead. The hospital also opposed allowing an outsider to come into the hospital to do the surgery.

Eventually, an accommodation was reached during a January 3 hearing before Alameda Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo. Jahi’s mother, Nailah Winkfield, was allowed to remove her daughter from the hospital as long as she assumed full responsibility. Jahi was moved to a still undisclosed location two days later.

In her message Nailah Winfield repeated that Jahi is not dead. She wrote

“As I prayed today, I felt called to express to people that I am truly grateful for the amount of love and support my daughter Jahi McMath and I have received from people all over the world. We feel your prayer and support. Because of your unselfish generosity I was able to do what I was afraid I would never be able to do, move my daughter from Children’s Hospital Oakland before they removed her from her ventilator and stopped her heart. This was itself a miracle. Please know that all of the support we received has been used towards helping Jahi.”

In its story, the Tribune’s Kristin J. Bender and David DeBolt, wrote, “Multiple medical experts have repeatedly said no medical tools or procedures can bring Jahi back from brain death, and that organ failure is likely to occur at some point, even with Jahi on a ventilator and a feeding tube.”

Last month Christopher Dolan, the family’s attorney, said family members need to “heal up from this whole experience” and have “some quiet time” away from media questions,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

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