- Oct 3:
- Jahi McMath: Family breaks silence on brain-dead girl's condition
- Oct 2:
- Jahi McMath: Attorney shows video he says proves Oakland girl moves feet, hands at mother's commands
- Oct 1:
- Jahi McMath: Family seeks to have brain-death ruling overturned, girl declared alive
- Aug 17:
- Reports that Jahi McMath is coming home are false
- Jun 20:
- Jahi McMath: Experts say New Jersey 'best destination' for brain-dead patients
- Jun 18:
- Jahi McMath being kept at New Jersey hospital
- Jun 13:
- Jahi McMath: Brain-dead Oakland girl receives certificate from school
- Jun 12:
- Jahi McMath getting diploma for eighth grade, family says
- Jun 11:
- Jahi McMath: Family pushing school to grant brain-dead teen's diploma
- Mar 13:
- Jahi McMath: Family calls state report 'B.S.'; new medical record details emerge
- Jahi McMath: State releases report on Children's Hospital Oakland's handling of patients
- Feb 27:
- Jahi McMath's family to get award from Terri Schiavo foundation
- Feb 19:
- Jahi McMath: Complete text of letter from brain-dead girl's mother
- Jahi McMath 'much better,' her mother says
- Feb 1:
- Jahi McMath: Is it safe to have tonsil surgery at Children's Hospital Oakland?
- Jan 27:
- Jahi McMath video claims to show her feet and toes move
- Jan 25:
- Jahi McMath: five similar brain death legal cases
- Jahi McMath: Could her case change how California determines death?
- Jan 17:
- John Horgan: Don't be too quick to judge Jahi McMath's family
- John Horgan: Readers react to Jahi McMath commentary
- Jan 9:
- Jahi McMath: Medical experts say organ failure inevitable
- Jan 7:
- Jahi McMath: Streetfighting lawyer takes heat, death threats for brain-dead Oakland girl's family
- Jan 6:
- Jahi McMath: Family says brain-dead teen's body may be too deteriorated to save
- Document: Medical analysis of Jahi McMath's deteriorating condition
- Jahi McMath: Brain-dead girl moved to undisclosed care facility
- Jan 5:
- Jahi McMath: Brain-dead teen's family moves her from Children's Hospital Oakland
- Jahi McMath: Timeline of events in case of brain-dead Oakland teen
- Jahi McMath: 13-year-old brain-dead Oakland girl moved by family from hospital
- Jan 3:
- Jahi McMath: Mom can remove brain-dead daughter from hospital, judge rules
- Jan 2:
- Jahi McMath: Case heads to federal court Friday
- Jan 1:
- Jahi McMath family spends first day of 2014 searching for doctor to help get teen to New York facility
- Dec 31:
- Document: Hospital decries Jahi McMath family's wishes to keep her on ventilator
- Jahi McMath may be transferred to treatment center in New York
- Jahi McMath: Terri Schiavo group secretly leading transfer efforts
- Jahi McMath: Hospital fights in court to remove brain-dead girl from ventilator
- Dec 30:
- Jahi McMath: Judge's order keeping girl on ventilator reinvigorates family
- Jahi McMath: Judge extends order keeping girl on ventilator
- Dec 29:
- Jahi McMath: Statement of Children's Hospital Oakland
- Jahi McMath: Mom and lawyer say only remaining option for brain-dead girl is a New York care facility
- Dec 28:
- Jahi McMath: Family, attorney release letter addressing critics
- Jahi McMath: Family trying to raise money to get 13-year-old airlifted out of state
- Dec 27:
- Jahi McMath: Hospital open to transferring brain-dead teen but won't perform surgery required by admitting facilities
- Jahi McMath: Children's Hospital Oakland agrees to release brain-dead girl to long-term care
- Contra Costa Times editorial: No one recovers from being brain dead
- Dec 26:
- Jahi McMath: Family ready to move brain-dead girl to new facility; hospital may refuse surgery request
- Jahi McMath: Family says they'll move brain-dead girl to another Bay Area facility
- Dec 25:
- Jahi McMath: Family tries to have normal holiday celebration in hospital waiting room
- Dec 24:
- Lost in the divisive battle over Jahi McMath is a mother's undeniable love
- Jahi McMath: Judge denies petition to keep girl on ventilator past Dec. 30
- Dec 23:
- Jahi McMath: Judge extends order to keep brain-dead girl on ventilator
- Dec 22:
- Faith leaders call on prosecutors to investigate Jahi McMath case
- Oakland: Need for tonsillectomies in question
- Dec 21:
- Jahi, her mom and 13 days at Children's Hospital Oakland
- Jahi McMath: Medicine's ability to keep a heart beating complicates how death is perceived
- Oakland: Emotional letter from Jahi McMath's mom to keep daughter 'warm'
- Dec 20:
- Oakland: Judge grants restraining order keeping Jahi McMath on ventilator through Monday
- Family of Oakland girl on ventilator furious after meeting with hospital officials
- Dec 19:
- Family of girl left brain dead at Children's Hospital Oakland demands medical records
- Dec 18:
- Jahi McMath prayer vigil: "God knows we want a miracle"
- Dec 16:
- Family furious, hospital investigating after tonsil surgery leaves girl brain-dead
- Oakland: Girl declared brain dead after tonsil surgery may be taken off life support Tuesday
- Oakland girl, 13, declared brain-dead after tonsil surgery
OAKLAND -- Even as tests showed that 13-year-old Jahi McMath has no brain activity -- a week after what should have been routine tonsil surgery went horribly awry and left the girl legally dead -- her family vowed Tuesday to keep her on life support and called for prayers in the hope that the girl could somehow still recover.
With the assistance of a ventilator at Children's Hospital Oakland, Jahi continues to draw breath, and her heart continues to beat. Angered by what they said were hospital officials' attempts to pressure them into taking the girl off life support, her family presented the hospital Tuesday with a cease-and-desist letter and vowed to take further legal action to keep the girl alive.
Jahi McMath, 13, who went in for a routine surgery to get her tonsils removed, is now brain dead after complications post surgery. (Omari Sealey)
While a brain dead diagnosis, according to medical professionals who spoke to this newspaper, is an irreversible state of complete failure of the brain, making someone legally deceased, the girl's family said it believes that if the heart is still beating, there's still a chance.
Hospital officials have repeatedly declined to speak about Jahi's case, saying that the family had not given them permission to do so publicly. State and federal laws in place to protect a patient's privacy prohibit the discussion of medical conditions or treatments without that permission.
The family called on people from around the world to pray for Jahi, saying her fate should be should be in the hands of God, not in the hands of doctors.
"We are not on doctor's time now, we are on God's time," the girl's uncle, Omari Sealey, said Tuesday afternoon outside the hospital.
The family was joined Tuesday by their lawyer, Christopher Dolan, who earlier in the day emailed the letter to the hospital's CEO, chief of pediatrics and others, demanding they "refrain from any actions or activities which would remove Jahi from life support."
A copy of Dolan's letter, provided to the Bay Area News Group by Dolan, maintains the family's position that hospital officials planned to disconnect Jahi from a breathing machine on Tuesday despite the family's wishes to keep her alive. The letter cites the Patients Bill of Rights in California, which maintain that the family has the right to make the decision.
Dolan said the hospital has indicated that there is no timetable to remove life support, and Jahi's family is willing to file an injunction in court to stop the hospital if they do.
"The medicine they provided didn't work," Dolan said. "It's time to let God work. At this point we are banking on prayer."
On Tuesday, Chief of Pediatrics David Durand issued a statement, saying that due to medical privacy regulations, "we are not able to correct misperceptions created about this sad situation. Nonetheless, we want to assure the community that we are doing everything in our capacity to provide support to the grieving family."
Jahi entered the hospital Dec. 9 for routine tonsil surgery to relieve the symptoms of sleep apnea, a procedure that would normally keep her in the hospital for only one night. After surgery, her family said she appeared healthy and alert until later that night, when she began bleeding, later went into cardiac arrest and was pronounced brain dead Thursday after swelling in the brain.
S. Andrew Josephson, a neurologist and medical director of inpatient neurology at UC San Francisco, said brain death is a specific diagnosis, given by two doctors, that is "legally, morally and ethically equivalent to death."
"Brain death can be a very difficult concept for even very sophisticated people," Josephson said. "It's not something we encounter on a daily basis."
It is uncommon for families to leave a loved one who is declared brain dead¿ on life support, said Jessica Zitter, an intensive care unit and palliative care doctor at Oakland's Highland Hospital. Typically, hospitals and the families will arrange a reasonable amount of time for all family members to arrive and say goodbye, she said. But in the rare instances it occurs, the reasons usually are because of a distrust of medical staff or strong religious beliefs that cardiac death is death and that a patient should be cared for until the heart stops, regardless of what the brain is doing.
"She's alive to me," Jahi's mother, Nailah Winkfield, said Tuesday. "She's not dead. She still has a heartbeat."
The family has called for an international prayer vigil from 6 to 7 p.m. Pacific Standard Time on Wednesday. A local vigil will be held at the same time at Paradise Baptist Church, 9704 Empire Road in East Oakland.
Staff writers Rick Hurd and Erin Ivie contributed to this story.