Over $25,000 Raised To Help Brain-Dead Teen On Life Support

News & Views | Gerren Keith Gaynor | 01/02/2014 | 10:30 AM EST

Family of Jahi McMath, 13, refuses to accept hospital’s brain death ruling

The family of 13-year-old Jahi McMath is fighting for her life after the teen was declared brain dead by a Children’s Hospital in Oakland, California. The hospital ruled that the 8th grader-- who went into cardiac arrest after undergoing a tonsillectomy and other operations to alleviate sleep apnea on Dec . 9-- should be removed from life support.

McMath’s family, however, refused to accept the hospital’s ruling and subsequently won a restraining order from the courts to prevent Children’s Hospital doctors from removing the young girl from a ventilator.

However, the presiding judge over the case, Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo, revoked her order on Dec. 24 after hearing testimony from an independent physician who said McMath met “all the criteria for brain death.” Still, the family of McMath are unwilling to concede and continue to fight for her life.

"I would probably need my child's heart to stop to show me that she was dead. Her heart was still beating, so there's still life there," McMath's mother, Nailah Winfield told The Associated Press on Friday.

Nonetheless, David Durand, who is chief of pediatrics at Children's Hospital, said administrators did “not believe that performing surgical procedures on the body of a deceased person is an appropriate medical practice.”

McMath’s family tried to move her to two different facilities in California to prevent the hospital from taking her off life support, but both hospitals refused to treat someone who was declared dead. The family did, however, manage to find a hospital in New York that agreed to admit Jahi, who would be airlifted across the country.

On Friday, Dec. 27, Jahi’s mother wrote on a fundraising page, “My family and I are still striving to find a location that will accept her in her current condition … Let us pray that someone (sic) will have the heart to accept her despite what Children's Hospital says. So that we can get her air lifted away from this place as soon as possible.”

On Monday, Dec. 30, donors had contributed over $25,000 to Jahi’s cause.

(Photo: AP Photo/Courtesy of McMath Family and Omari Sealey, File)

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