OAKLAND -- Just two days after the attorney for the family of Jahi McMath said the 13-year-old girl may not "make it" because her body had deteriorated so badly, doctors have inserted a feeding tube and tracheotomy tubes, and her health is "improving," the lawyer said.
Family attorney Christopher Dolan called the procedure "a success."
"She is doing very well and getting the treatment she should have gotten 28 days ago," Dolan said in a text message. "Doctors are optimistic that her condition has stabilized and that her health is improving from when she was taken from Children's Hospital Oakland."
Jahi was declared brain dead Dec. 12, after she suffered cardiac arrest while she recovered from a Dec. 9 surgery to remove her tonsils and clear tissue from her nose and throat. Her family battled with hospital officials for several weeks, seeking to keep the girl on a ventilator and to have breathing and feeding tubes surgically inserted.
Doctors have said that a brain-dead patient who is not receiving nutrition may experience total organ failure within two to four weeks.
Still, the update Wednesday afternoon left more questions than answers.
The family refuses to say where the girl was taken or who performed the surgery to implant the tubes. She was moved from Children's Hospital around 8 p.m. Sunday and taken to an undisclosed facility, where she was checked in Monday morning.
An Alameda County Coroner's Office spokesman said Monday that he believed the girl had been taken out of state, but he did not know more. The coroner's office had issued a death certificate for the girl, citing Dec. 12 as the date of her death, but still must perform an autopsy to determine the cause of her death.
A Medford, N.Y., facility with ties to the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network had previously said it would accept her for long-term care, but it was not known Wednesday if she was there. Founder Allyson Scerri did not return a call for comment Wednesday.
The Oakland girl has been on a ventilator and receiving intravenous hydration since she was declared brain dead but was not receiving nutrition. Her family has held firmly to the hope that she would wake up -- through divine intervention or a medical miracle.
In a declaration filed in court Friday,¿ Heidi R. Flori, a critical care pediatrician at Children's Hospital Oakland said inserting a feeding tube would cause more harm to her already deteriorating body. What's more, multiple medical experts have said no medical tools or procedures can bring Jahi back to life.
On Monday, after Jahi had been removed from Children's Hospital but before she received the feeding tube, Dolan said, "Right now ... we don't know if she's going to make it." Jahi's body had "deteriorated so badly" that her heart may not continue beating, Dolan said.