Last Hope for Brain-Dead Teen: Facility Dedicated to Terri Schiavo?

Schiavo organization also helping Jahi McMath's family

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 1, 2014 10:18 AM CST

(Newser) – A brain-injury treatment center dedicated to Terri Schiavo is trying to help the family of Jahi McMath, the California teen left brain-dead after tonsil surgery. Allyson Scerri founded New Beginnings in Medford, New York, in 2011, and Schiavo's mother and brother took part in the ribbon-cutting when it opened. That's where McMath's family wants to transfer the 13-year-old, and the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network said in a news release yesterday that it has been helping the family for weeks now, the San Jose Mercury News reports. "Jahi McMath has been labeled a 'deceased' person. Yet she retains all the functional attributes of a living person, despite her brain injury," the statement reads. "Jahi is a living human being."

Scerri is willing to take McMath into her facility, currently an outpatient center, and ultimately move her into a planned inpatient center that is being constructed. But the teen still needs two surgeries before she can be safely moved, and the AP reports her family is still struggling on that front. Children's Hospital Oakland, where McMath currently is, has already refused on the basis that it considers McMath "a deceased person." Yesterday, a lawyer for the hospital said it also will not allow an outside doctor to come in and perform the procedures (McMath needs breathing and feeding tubes implanted). And a state appeals court yesterday refused to order the hospital to do the procedures, though the issue is still pending in the court system. McMath's mother tells ABC News the hospital is not feeding her daughter, and refers to her only as "the body." Meanwhile, the state Department of Public Health is investigating the hospital and its handling of the case.

This undated file photo provided by the McMath family and Omari Sealey shows Jahi McMath.
This undated file photo provided by the McMath family and Omari Sealey shows Jahi McMath.   (AP Photo/Courtesy of McMath Family and Omari Sealey, File)
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