Mother Fights for Brain-Dead Daughter
OAKLAND, Calif. (CN) - A mother sued the Oakland Children's Hospital to stop it from pulling the plug on her daughter, whose chief of pediatrics, the mother claims, said her daughter is "dead, dead, dead."
Latasha Winkfield sued Children's Hospital Oakland and Dr. David Durand in Federal Court.
A judge on Monday ordered the hospital to keep the girl on life support for another week.
Winkfield's daughter, Jahi McMath, 13, lost a large amount of blood, suffered a heart attack and loss of oxygen to her brain after "a routine tonsillectomy" at the hospital on Dec. 9, the mother says in the lawsuit.
Jahi has been on a respirator since then. "She is totally disabled at this time and is severely limited in all major life activities, being unable to do anything of her own volition," her mother says in the lawsuit.
Winkfield claims that defendant Durand, the hospital's chief of pediatrics, told her "that Jahi is 'dead, dead, dead, dead,' utilizing the definition of 'brain death' derived from Cal. Health & Safety Code § 7180."
Winkfield says she is a Christian, "with firm religious beliefs that as long as the heart is beating, Jahi is alive."
She claims to have "personal knowledge" of people who were declared brain dead but "emerged from legal brain death to where they had cognitive ability and some even fully recovering."
She says her religious beliefs require that her daughter be provided "all treatment, care and nutrition."
She says the defendants told her her daughter is dead and intended to pull the plug before Christmas. Winkfield seeks a restraining order and injunction.
Winkfield is trying to raise money to transfer her daughter elsewhere.
A judge ruled on Christmas Eve that the hospital could pull the plug only after the family had time to appeal or make other arrangements, ABC News reported. The judge said the hospital could remove Jahi from life support after 5 p.m. on Dec. 30, according to ABC.
NBC News reported Monday that the hospital told Jahi's family they can transfer her if the family can arrange it.
The family is represented by Christopher Dolan, of San Francisco.