Health

2nd Opinion for California Girl Left Brain Dead After Tonsillectomy

| by Emily Smith

A court order keeping a California girl on life support after a routine tonsillectomy left her brain dead expires on Monday. A family approved doctor is scheduled to give a second opinion on the girl's condition the same day.

Soon after her tonsillectomy, Jahi McMath went into cardiac arrest and the flow of oxygen to her brain was cut off. Doctors immediately declared her brain dead and planned to take her off life support; the McMath family intervened and requested a second opinion.

To appease the family, a judge ordered that the hospital keep Jahi on life support until a second opinion could be delivered at a future court hearing.

"I don't want to have my Christmas every year remind me of her being taken off a ventilator," Nailah Winkfield, Jahi's mother, argued.

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McMath's family, who have planned a vigil outside the hospital with church members, accused the hospital of being callous in pushing to take McMath off of life support.

Hospital staff have denied the accusation.

"As medical professionals, it is our responsibility to ensure that we don't create hope where there is none," said the hospital's chief of pediatrics, Dr. David Durand. "When one's brain ceases to function, it never restarts.”

Despite the opinion of hospital staff, Winkfield has faith that her daughter will survive.

"The doctors don’t know everything,” Winkfield said, "because if they did, my daughter wouldn't be brain-dead right now."

Sources: LA Times, USA Today