Judge: Life Support Can End for Brain-Dead Girl
But Jahi McMath's family has til Dec. 30 to appeal
By Polly Davis Doig, Newser Staff
Posted Dec 24, 2013 5:07 PM CST
This undated photo shows Jahi McMath, who remains on life support at Children's Hospital Oakland nearly a week after doctors declared her brain dead.   (AP Photo/Courtesy of McMath Family and Omari Sealey)

(Newser) – A California judge has joined with doctors in declaring 13-year-old Jahi McMath legally brain dead in a tonsillectomy gone horrifically wrong, and ordered that she be taken off life support. The main takeaway from today's ruling, as per the AP: Jahi's family has until 5pm on Monday to appeal, and the teenager will be kept on life support until then. The ruling in Alameda County Superior Court came after a second doctor testified that Jahi was in fact brain dead.

Children's Hospital Oakland is fighting to take Jahi off a ventilator, writing in a court filing today that, "Because Ms. McMath is dead, practically and legally, there is no course of medical treatment to continue or discontinue; there is nothing to which the family's consent is applicable." Jahi's mother, meanwhile, seems resolute in her desire to keep her daughter on life support, telling CNN, "I'm her mother. I'm going to support her. It's my job to do it. I just want her to have more time. There are so many stories of people waking up in her situation."

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Showing 3 of 178 comments
splunge
Dec 25, 2013 7:46 PM CST
It's so horribly sad for this young girl, and her grieving family. It reminds me of the situation with Karen Ann Quinlan, I believe her name was, many years ago. If the child can be moved to a long-term care facility then maybe it will give the family more time to accept what has happened, and then they can make that final decision without being coerced into doing so. Someone should also be held liable for her condition, because this sounds like a clear case of malpractice to me.
K.C.
Dec 25, 2013 2:02 PM CST
When we talk about life support, what are we talking about? Mechanical breathing? Mechanical heart beat? At this point, please note I do NOT refer to shelter, nourishment and hydration. The brain is a complicated, electrical impulse device which regulates all those functions. If it is dead, it no longer does those functions and the patient has obviously died. The only important concern we should have is when we are sure the immortal soul has left the body. f the patient has in fact died, the body will reject the nourishment and hydration. That's how we know. I would agree with JBHK about moving her to another facility. That idea seems like a good one, .However, that facility should only provide shelter, nourishment and hydration until death is determined. Nothing else.
Barbara Kemp
Dec 25, 2013 1:57 PM CST
I THINK THE MOTHER SHOULD HAVE THE LAST SAY, THIS IS HER CHILD AND NO ONE ELSE'S. THE HOSPITAL JUST WANTS TO KEEP THE BILL DOWN, SO THAT MAKES IT ALL ABOUT THE MONEY AND IT IS NOT, IF YOU HAVE EVER LOST A CHILD. OR ANY LOVED ONE FOR THAT MATTER. I DID NOT TAKE MY LATE HUSBAND OFF OF LIFE SUPPORT UNTIL I AND HIS FAMILY WERE READY TO DO SO. BUT EVEN AFTER 38 YEARS I STILL SOMEHOW FEEL THAT I KILLED HIM, EVEN THRO MY BRAIN SAYS NO, MY HEART STILL SAYS YES, THAT I DID NOT KEEP THE FAITH. SO PLEASE LEAVE THIS MOTHER ALONE UNLESS YOU HAVE WALKED IN HER SHOES, AND IF YOU HAVE WALKED IN HER SHOES YOU WOULD NOT BE JUDGING HER AT ALL AND LET HER MAKE THIS DECISION, NOT A HOSPITAL NOR A DAM JUDGE. EVEN I BECAME VERY AWARE THAT MY BELOVED WAS GONE WHEN HIS BEAUTIFUL BODY BEGAN TO DECADE BEFORE MY EYES, AND THEN I COULD SIGN THAT PAPER. SO THIS MOTHER WILL COME THAT SAME CONCLUSION, IF YOU JUST LEAVE HER ALONE. A CHILD IS A LOT WORST THEN A HUSBAND, AND SO FAR GOD HAS NOT TAKEN EITHER OF MY DAUGHTERS, GOD KNOWS I WILL NEVER HANDLE THAT DAY AT ALL. GOD BLESS YOU AND I PRAY YOU SOMEDAY HAVE PEACE IN YOUR LIFE OVER YOUR DAUGHTER. DISCLAIMER, I TYPE IN CAPS DUE TO MY EYES,