Court order to keep US teenager Jahi McMath on life support set to expire

The Californian teenager was declared brain dead after a routine operation went wrong

US teenager Jahi McMath who was declared "legally dead" after her routine operation went wrong may soon be taken off life support.

The 13-year-old Californian girl had a tonsillectomy in December to treat her sleep apnoea, but suffered complications after she began bleeding heavily.

She went into cardiac arrest was declared brain dead three days after surgery.

Despite her family believing she is still alive, doctors at Children’s Hospital & Research Center where the procedure was carried out want to turn off Ms McMath’s ventilator. 

A court order keeping her on the machine expires on Monday 17:00 local time (01:00 GMT) and the hospital in Oakland maintains that because she is “practically and legally” dead there is no medical treatment that can save her.

Both an independent paediatric neurologist from Stanford University and the judge at Alameda County Superior Court support the hospital’s argument.

However, her family hope that an institution in New York will care for Ms McMath after two care homes in California withdrew offers to treat her.

They have so far raised over $22,000 (£13,000) to help with the cost of transferring Ms McMath to an alternative hospital. 

Ms McMath’s family said in a statement: “We have our strong religious convictions and set of beliefs and we believe that, in this country, a parent has the right to make decisions concerning the existence of their child: not a doctor... and definitely not a doctor who runs the facility that caused the brain death in the first place.”

It remains unclear how the 13-year-old’s operation on 9 December caused her to go into cardiac arrest.

Staff at the hospital where she is being kept say they will continue to work with her family to transfer the teenager to another facility, as long as they are legally able.

Cynthia Chiarappa, a hospital spokeswoman, said that moving Ms McMath is not akin to transferring a patient in a vegetative state, but rather moving “a dead body”.

“We need to be able to talk to the other facility to understand what it is they are capable of doing,” she said.

The McMaths' lawyer, Chris Dolan, said he was waiting to hear from a hospital in New York, where officials have been considering the case.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Network Support Engineer - Hosted Telecommunications

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity for a Ne...

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor / Partner - Cheltenham

Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: A very rare high level opportunity with a fir...

Recruitment Genius: IT Manager

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This distributor of electronics...

Recruitment Genius: Personal Assistant

£18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client has a number of different bus...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower