We're a hawk on the issues.

Family of Jahi McMath are Petitioning the Court to Have Her Declared ‘Alive’ So She Can Receive State-Funded Care

Months after 13-year-old Jahi McMath was declared brain-dead by doctors at a California children’s hospital, her family is hoping that the courts will declare her ‘alive.’

Last December, Jahi went in for a routine tonsil procedure at the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland. Shortly after waking up from the surgery, she started bleeding and suffered cardiac arrest.

Numerous doctors at the hospital declared the little girl brain-dead, but her family refused to accept the diagnosis.

Instead, with the help of lawyer Chris Dolan, they sued for the right for Jahi to be released into their care.

At the time, Children’s Hospital spokesman Sam Singer roundly criticized Dolan for encouraged the family to look for hope when there was none.

“No amount of food, medicine, medical machinery, time or hope is going to bring back her back,” Singer said.So it’s really wrong and unethical for Mr. Dolan to mislead the family and the public that there’s any amount of hope or any food that could possibly bring back this deceased young woman.”

Despite expert testimony and the fact a death certificate was issued, the courts agreed to allow the family to take custody of Jahi.

For the better part of this year, Jahi has been cared for at a private Roman Catholic hospital in New Jersey. Since she is not considered legally alive, private donors and the family have had to foot the bill.

Chris Dolan, who is still representing the family, now says that he has lined up numerous experts that will testify that Jahi has shown signs of life and the little girl deserves to be considered as a person, not a body, by the state.

He also said the case is not about the money, but admitted that if the petition is successful, “She would be eligible for the same state benefits as every other person not brain-dead on a ventilator, and who gets full medical care.”

The family is also hoping if Jahi can receive state-funded care, the family and Jahi can return to California to be closer to home.

Photo Credit: Facebook/Jahi McMath

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.