Family: Jahi McMath Is 'Alive Again'

Attorney says he has evidence of brain activity, wants court to reverse ruling
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 3, 2014 6:02 AM CDT

(Newser) Jahi McMath, the 13-year-old girl declared brain-dead not long after having her tonsils removed in December, has been kept on feeding and breathing support at Saint Peter's University Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ. Now the Oakland, Calif., girl's family says Jahi is once again showing brain activity, and they're asking a Bay Area court to walk back its declaration that she is dead, reports the San Jose Mercury News. The newspaper notes that were this to happen, it would mark the first time an individual declared brain-dead was found to regain brain activity. One prominent physician says such a reversal would be miraculous and "would force us to re-examine the whole nature of death in America." Then he added, "But I don't believe it."

The family's attorney, meanwhile, says he has "medical experts, including world-class experts on brain death, who will testify she is not brain-dead." In court documents filed Tuesday, Christopher Dolan also cited an MRI and claimed Jahi now responds to commands given by her mother. He says the determination of brain death occurred when there was swelling in her brain, and he says that swelling has subsided. While family members haven't disclosed who is privately paying for Jahi's care, they've acknowledged that by reversing her status as dead, she'd be eligible for state benefits just like others who are on ventilators and not brain-dead, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. A hearing is set for Thursday. (Back in March, Jahi's uncle said that not only was Jahi alive, but that she knew where she was.)

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