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VIDEO: Teen's family fights to keep her on life support after tonsillectomy leaves her brain dead

Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - 12:14pm

The family of a teen girl who is brain dead after a tonsillectomy is fighting to keep her on life support.

It was a simple operation that was supposed to improve her quality of life. Instead, Jahi McMath lay brain dead just hours after surgery.

The 13-year-old was admitted to Oakland Children's Hospital on December 9, for a tonsillectomy which doctors prescribed to correct her sleep apnea.

Jahi was alert after the surgery her family says, but then went into cardiac arrest after being moved to the intensive care unit. The medical team worked to revive her, but blood had filled her lungs and stomach.

The next day, a CT scan showed that two-thirds of Jahi's brain was swollen and by Friday, further testing by the hospital confirmed Jahi was medically dead.

Her death was reported to the Oakland Coroner's Office which was scheduled to take the girl's body, but the family, who wants to keep Jahi on life support, handed the hospital a cease and desist order.

Jahi's mother, Nailah Winkfield, wants more time for her child to show signs of brain activity.

"And I went in there and cried to this man and said just said check her brain one more time," said Nailah. "I asked him do you have children and he said yes and I said well then you should know how it feels."

As for the hospital, the chief of pediatrics gave CNN the following statement:

We can say that, as whenever we see a medical or surgical complication, we are reviewing her case very closely. our hearts go out to her family, and we want to support them during this extremely difficult time.

"I feel her," said Nailah. "I can feel my daughter. I just kind of feel like maybe she's trapped inside her own body and she wants to scream out and tell me something. That's why every time I go in there, I let her know I will not let them take you to the coroner's office, I won't."


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