Family Wants To Keep Brain-Dead Girl on Life Support, Hospital Disagrees

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hospitalThe family of the California girl who was left clinically brain dead last week after a routine surgery does not want their daughter taken off life support and claims the hospital is pressuring them to do so.

Jahi McMath, 13, underwent a procedure Dec. 9 to remove her tonsils in hopes of treating her sleep apnea, weight gain, inability to concentrate, and uncontrollable urination, her family told reporters.

Directly after the procedure, the girl seemed fine.

“She was alert and talking, and she was asking for a Popsicle because she said her throat hurt,” Sandy Chatman, McMath’s grandmother, told CNN.

But she soon took a turn for the worse when she began bleeding uncontrollably in her throat. Her oxygen levels dipped dangerously low and she was rushed to intensive care. Three days later, doctors told Jahi’s family that she was brain dead.

“Now she is 100 percent brain damaged,” her uncle, Omari Sealey, told CNN Monday in a telephone interview. “Medically dead.”

Despite doctors’ advice, Jahi McMath’s family wants her to stay on life support.

“I don’t want her off life support because I really feel like she can wake up,” Nailah Winkfield, McMath’s mother, told CNN’s Piers Morgan Tuesday. “I feel like it’s just been a rough week for her and, if they just give her some more time, then she’ll be able to wake up.”

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  1. Heartbreaking story.

    Would be interesting for a MD to comment whether it is medically appropriate to suggest tonsillectomy for indications such as presumed sleep apnea (if confirmed, it calls for a cpap, I think) weight gain (calls for hypocaloric diet and exercise, I think) inability to concentrate (it clearly calls for a better school at once) and uncontrollable urination (I wonder what it means exactly, and I wonder if she frequently asked teachers to use the bathroom in order to be allowed to take a walk). I thought tonsillectomy’s medical indication is a context where repeated infections are not properly controlled by antibiotics and may pose a risk of heart disease.

  2. You all remember how the Democrats murdered Terry Scheivo! This is Obama’s dream come true: DEATH PANELS! But that’s ok. You stupid idiots keep voting for Democrats! Enjoy!

  3. to non MD #2.
    Sleep apnea (meaning not breathing) is usually from airway obstruction. In adults it is most commonly from obesity and excessive tissue in the airway. In children very enlarged tonsils can obstruct the airway in sleep, leading to low oxygen. In such a case tonsillectomy would be appropriate. Lack of good sleep and poor oxygenation certainly can lead to drowsiness at school and behavior issue including urinary habits.
    People do die, though rarely, even in “low risk” operations. Sleep apnea is known to be a major risk for post-operative respiratory failure. This is why kids who have tonsillectomies for infection can go home the same day, while kids who have the surgery for apnea need to spend the night closely watched in the ICU.

  4. Poor kid, poor parents. Sometimes tonsils grow extremely large. This does cause sleep apnea, daytime sleepiness, lack of focus/attention as a result. All kinds of health problems, including metabolic imbalances, occur as a result of chronic sleep deficits. Many of my relatives have these kinds of tonsilts. Many have had tonsillectomy. MOST have had postoperative bleeding, requiring a return trip to the OR (lo aleinu). Stuff happens….The last time a young relative needed tonsillectomy, the parents, knowing the family history and having had bad experiences, advocated for overnight hospitalization post operatively. The doctor and the insurance company agreed to this plan. Again, stuff happens….


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