Image

5:46 AM / Sunday October 2, 2022

4 Jul 2018

Mother: Girl at center of debate over brain death dies

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
July 4, 2018 Category: Week In Review Posted by:

ABOVE PHOTO:  Nailah Winkfield, right, mother of Jahi McMath, looks up at a video of her daughter being played during a news conference at a law office Friday, Oct. 3, 2014, in San Francisco. Debate over the definition of “brain-dead” reignited this week when the California family and its lawyer asked a judge to declare that 13-year-old Jahi McMath is alive 10 months after a coroner signed her death certificate. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

 

By Paul Elias

ASSOCIATED PRESS

SAN FRANCISCO — A girl at the center of the medical and religious debate over brain death has died after surgery in New Jersey, her mother said Thursday.

Nailah Winkfield said doctors declared her daughter Jahi McMath dead on June 22 from excessive bleeding and liver failure after an operation to treat an intestinal issue.

McMath was declared dead in December 2013 when she was 13 after suffering irreversible brain damage during routine surgery in California to remove her tonsils and a coroner signed a death certificate. Several specialists concurred after neurological tests.

Winkfield refused to accept the conclusion. She said her Christian beliefs compelled her to fight for continued care for her daughter, who she said showed signs of life through toe wriggles and finger movements.

Winkfield flew her daughter to New Jersey, where she has remained on life support and received care in the state that accommodates religions that don’t recognize brain death.

“Jahi wasn’t brain dead or any kind of dead,” Winkfield said. “She was a girl with a brain injury and she deserved to be cared for like any other child who had a brain injury.”

A video of 13-year-old Jahi McMath being played during a news conference at a law office in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

McMath’s case drew national attention amid the debate over brain death and religious beliefs. Conservative religious groups rallied behind Winkfield and helped raise money for McMath’s continued care.

Winkfield said she has quit her job, sold her home in Oakland and used savings to pay for McMath’s care in New Jersey. The state’s Medicaid program and donations have also contributed to the girl’s care.

“These last four-and-a-half years have not been easy,” Winkfield said. “I can go to sleep knowing I did everything possible for my kid and no one can take that away from me.”

Winkfield and her lawyers had been trying to rescind the California death certificate as part of a medical malpractice lawsuit filed against Children’s Hospital in Oakland.

In refusing to throw out the lawsuit last year, a judge ruled that it was up to a jury to determine if the girl was still alive.

Attorney Chris Dolan said the New Jersey death certificate eliminated that argument, but he and Winkfield are still debating whether to continue the fight and possibly set a precedent so other religious families don’t have to go through the same situation.

“My wish is that she will get some laws changed,” Winkfield said about her daughter. “I really hope that people learn from this and learn not to pull the plug so fast.”

Children’s Hospital lawyers had argued that the family did not subject McMath to tests accepted by the American Medical Association to determine brain death.

Dolan says new technology has made traditional tests obsolete.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Leave a Comment

Recent News

Stateside

Biden signs bill to avert government shutdown, aid Ukraine

October 1, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email By KEVIN FREKING WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden signed into law Friday...

Education

A message from Superintendent Watlington regarding the shooting outside of Roxborough High School

September 30, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email Dear School District of Philadelphia staff and families, The School District of Philadelphia...

Entertainment

The Jacksons in concert on September 10

September 30, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email (Photos/Afea Tucker) The Jacksons — Jackie, Tito, and Marlon, along with a backup...

Diaspora

Puerto Ricans await aid, fret about post-hurricane recovery

September 30, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: A man points to a home that was collapsed by Hurricane...

Go With The-Flo

Lil Wayne is looking to make a big profit from the sale of his waterfront Miami Beach mansion

September 30, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: Lil Wayne (Paul Smith / Featureflash / Shutterstock) By Flo Anthony...

Food And Beverage

What’s Cookin’? Vegan Shortbread Cookies

September 30, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email Tweet Share Pin Email Related Posts What’s Cookin’? Chewy Five Ginger Spice Molasses...

The Philadelphia Sunday Sun Staff