Calif. hospital agrees to transfer brain-dead teen

9:10 AM, Dec 28, 2013   |    comments
Jahi McMath, 13, suffered complications after a tonsillectomy. (Photo: Family photo via AP)
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In a reversal, a California hospital agreed Friday to release a brain-dead 13-year-old girl to another facility if her family meets conditions before a Monday deadline for disconnecting her from life support.

Oakland Children's Hospital on Thursday blocked the transfer of Jahi McMath to a San Francisco Bay Area nursing home, telling her family doctors would not perform the necessary tracheotomy or surgery to implant a feeding tube. The unidentified long-term-care facility then backed out.

In a letter Friday to the family's attorney, however, hospital officials wrote they would "allow a lawful transfer of Jahi's body in its current state ... if the family can arrange such a transfer and Children's can legally do so." The hospital said it "will of course continue to do everything legally and ethically permissible" to support the McMaths.

Jahi's family said Friday that a Los Angeles-area facility in North Hollywood had agreed to accept Jahi if the required surgical preparations were made.

The letter, to attorney Christopher Dolan, set forth three conditions for the hospital's cooperation in the transfer, including transportation and "legal approvals."

"At a minimum, the Alameda County Coroner needs to consent to any proposed transfer since we are dealing with the body of a person who has been declared legally dead," said the letter, from the hospital's attorney.

If all of its condition are met, the hospital "looks forward to immediately cooperating in further discussion of the transfer process for Jahi's body."

Jahi was left brain-dead from complications of Dec. 9 surgery to remove her tonsils and clear tissue from her nose and throat to improve her breathing. Tuesday, after testimony from an independent neurologist, Alameda County Judge Evelio Grillo ruled that the hospital can disconnect Jahi from life support Monday at 5 p.m. PT.

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