U.S. News


Court-Appointed Doctor Finds California Teen Brain Dead

A court-appointed neurologist in the case of Oakland 13-year-old Jahi McMath has declared the girl “meets all the criteria of brain death.”
Posted at 8:46 PM, Dec 24, 2013

A heartbreaking scene playing out on Christmas Eve — as a California teen has again been declared brain dead after a routine operation turned tragic.

A court-appointed neurologist in the case of Oakland 13-year-old Jahi McMath has said the girl “meets all the criteria of brain death” — an opinion that might pave the way for her to be removed from life support. (Via WJZ-TV)

McMath was first declared brain dead two weeks ago and put on life support, after going into cardiac arrest due to complications following a tonsillectomy. (Via WNEM)

“13-year-old Jahi McMath went into cardiac arrest after she had surgery earlier this month. Her family refused to take her off life support — believing that she would recover.” (Via WJRT

As the Los Angeles Times reports, a different doctor previously determined, “‘there is absolutely no medical possibility’ that Jahi's condition is reversible, ‘or that she will someday recover from death.’" 

Despite that, a bitter battle between McMath’s family and the hospital has played out surrounding the girl.

“Don’t pull the plug! Don’t pull the plug!” (Via CNN)

While the girl’s mother is fighting for more tests, the hospital believes it should remove McMath from life support.

In a court filing the hospital writes, “To be blunt, Children’s [Hospital] is currently merely preserving Ms. McMath’s body from the natural post-mortem course of events. There is no legal, ethical or moral requirement that it continue to do so or that the family consent in the decision to stop doing so.” (Via The Superior Court of the State of California


But the girl's mother has pushed on regardless. In an interview with KGO-TV she said:

“My major objective is to keep her alive, to keep her on. I believe she’s going to heal. There’s too many cases that I’ve read, that I’ve seen of people having brain damage and they’re waking up.”

The court has ruled that McMath can stay on life support through Dec. 30, giving the family the chance to spend Christmas with her — but it has not ruled on what will happen after that date.