Lawyer: Brain dead girl moved from Calif. hospital

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 6, 2014 at 12:13 am •  Published: January 6, 2014
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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The 13-year-old California girl declared brain dead after a tonsillectomy has been taken out of Children's Hospital of Oakland, her family's attorney said late Sunday.

Jahi McMath left the hospital in a private ambulance shortly before 8 p.m. Sunday, Christopher Dolan told The Associated Press.

She was taken by a critical care team while attached to a ventilator but without a feeding tube, Dolan said. Her destination was not immediately disclosed.

"It was a very tense situation," said Dolan. "Everybody played by the rules."

David Durand, the hospital's Chief of Pediatrics, said the girl was released to the coroner. The coroner then released her into the custody of her mother, Nailah Winkfield, as per court order, Durand said in an email.

On Friday Alameda County Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo said Jahi could be transferred under an agreement with Children's Hospital and the girl's mother will be held accountable for developments that could include Jahi going into cardiac arrest.

The Alameda County coroner's office issued a death certificate for the girl Friday but said the document is incomplete because no cause of death has been determined pending an autopsy.

"They may have issued one but we don't have it. We don't think she's dead," Dolan said. "We got all the necessary legal paperwork in order to get Jahi out of there."

A court injunction prohibiting Children's Hospital from removing the ventilator that has kept Jahi's heart pumping since her Dec. 9 surgery expires at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Dolan wouldn't specify where the girl was taken but he said "they are going to care for her, respect her and love her. And they're going to call her Jahi, not 'the body.'"

After spending weeks in a very public and tense fight with the hospital, Jahi's family does not plan to disclose any more about their plans for her continued care until she is resettled, her uncle, Omari Sealey, told reporters on Friday.

The hospital has argued since before Christmas that Jahi's brain death means she is legally dead and she should be disconnected from the ventilator. It also has refused to fit her with a feeding tube or a breathing tube that would help stabilize her during a move, saying it was unethical to perform medical procedures on a dead person.