Leroy N. Soetoro
2018-06-30 16:58:39 UTC
Jahi McMath, the California teen whose family fought for her medical care
after doctors declared her brain dead in December 2013, has died after she
underwent surgery in New Jersey, relatives announced Thursday.
Her mother, Nailah Winkfield, said doctors declared McMath dead from
excessive bleeding and liver failure after an operation to treat an
intestinal issue. She died on June 22, the Bay Area News Group reported.
Her case had been at the center of a national debate over brain death
since the mother refused to remove her daughter from life support. On Dec.
9, 2013, McMath went to UCSF Benioff Childrens Hospital Oakland for a
complex nose and throat surgery. Doctors said she had irreversible brain
damage from a lack of oxygen and suffered cardiac arrest. A coroner in
California signed a death certificate the following month.
McMaths family gained custody of the girls body in 2014 and moved her to
New Jersey, the only state in the U.S. with a law that prohibits doctors
from removing brain-dead patients from ventilators over families
"Jahi wasn't brain dead or any kind of dead," Winkfield said. "She was a
girl with a brain injury and she deserved to be cared for like any other
child who had a brain injury."
Winkfield acknowledged her daughter's dire medical condition but said her
Christian beliefs compelled her to fight for care because the girl
occasionally showed physical signs of life by twitching her finger or
wiggling her toe.
The death certificate in New Jersey listed the cause of death as bleeding.
"Im devastated about losing my daughter," Winkfield told the Bay Area
News Group. "Everything I did revolved around Jahi."
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