Judge rules girl brain dead

An Oakland, CA judge has given the go ahead to remove a 13-year-old girl from life support after doctors declared her brain dead following a routine tonsillectomy.

The family of Jahi McMath plans to appeal the judge’s decision, ABC News reports. The family spent Christmas day at Children’s Hospital Oakland, where they set up a Christmas tree in Jahi’s room.

The judge based his ruling on an evaluation from an independent neurologist who examined Jahi on Monday. Chief of child neurology and director of the Center for Brain and Behavior at Stanford, Dr. Paul Graham Fisher, said Jahi “has no response to facial pain, no gag reflexes, no reflexes in her arms or legs, and a complete absence of brain stem and cerebral function.”

Jahi’s grandmother, Sandra Jo Chatman, says the teen was alert and talking following the tonsil surgery. But within hours she began bleeding from the mouth and nose. She said the nurses ignored her calls for assistant until she began screaming.

“I was the last one to see Jahi,” said Chatman. “I said, ‘Somebody help my baby please!’ And they came in and starting working on her. The next thing I know, the doctor said, ‘Oh no, she doesn’t have a heart rate anymore.’”

A family spokesman, Omari Sealey, says the family will decide whether to appeal the judge’s decision on Thursday, Dec. 26.

The family previously vowed to fight Jahi’s removal from life support. Children’s Hospital attorney Doug Strauss said the family was provided with all documents pertaining to Jahi’s medical care.

He said, “The hospital is not opposed to having the family take Jahi to another facility.” The family is considering that option.

As it stands now, Children’s Hospital Oakland can remove Jahi from life support after Dec. 30 unless the family wins their appeal and reverses the judge’s decision.