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Jahi McMath’s Uncle: ‘She is Tossing and Turning and Shows Signs of Life’

Just days after a review by the California Board of Public Health declared that Children’s Hospital of Oakland met the standard of care required in the case of Jahi McMath, her family continues to claim that doctors that gave Jahi no hope of recovery got it tragically wrong.

In December 2013, 13-year-old Jahi McMath went into the hospital for a tonsillectomy and suffered catastrophic complications, leading the doctors to diagnosis her with whole brain death and recommend the termination of life support. McMath’s family, however, would not accept the hospital’s diagnosis and fought in court to have Jahi released from the hospital and cared for at a private facility where she could remain on a ventilator and supportive therapy.

Ultimately, Jahi was released by the hospital to the coroner, who issued a death certificate, and then handed over to the family, who transported the child-still on a ventilator-to an undisclosed private care facility.

Now, three months later, Jahi’s uncle Omari Sealy insists the teen is showing signs of life and consciousness and has improved under her new doctor’s care.

“She moves so much, she can turn on her side,” he said. “They have to keep her bed rails up. They’re afraid she could fall out of bed.”

Sealy also stressed that the movements are not random and Jahi appears to respond when someone walks into a room and even turns to them.

“She definitely knows where she is and that we’re present,” he said.

He further pointed out that Jahi’s heart and lungs remain strong and he skin and body have not broken down. “One of the misconceptions out there is that she’s deteriorating or is going to deteriorate over time,” Jahi’s uncle said.  “But her skin looks better than mine.”

Medical professionals insist movement in bodies attached to life support is not uncommon and it should not be misconstrued as signs of consciousness. Ultimately, these  bodies will also break down.

Jahi’s uncle, however, said  that the doctors have been wrong every step of the way with Jahi  and he remains hopeful that one day “she [will]  wake up, that she [will] open her eyes.”

Photo Credit: Undated file photo/Omari Sealy

About the author

Tamar is a New York based freelance writer and photographer whose work has appeared in over 15 publications. You can catch her work regularly on Issue Hawk, Latest, Jspace, and MediaGlobal.