The California Department of Public Health has opened an investigation into Children's Hospital Oakland and its handling of a 13-year-old girl declared brain dead after suffering complications from a routine tonsillectomy.
Anita Gore, spokeswoman for the state Department of Public Health, on Tuesday told NBC Bay Area the investigation was launched two weeks ago and could not get into the details of the investigation.
The investigations comes as the family of Jahi McMath work to transfer the Oakland girl to a center on New York's Long Island that specializes in traumatic brain injuries.
Chris Dolan, an attorney representing the McMath family, told NBC Bay Area on Tuesday that he planned to "confirm today" the Medford, N.Y. center was still accepting the girl. The New York facility — founded by a former beauty salon owner — is willing to keep Jahi on life support, according to the family.
Dolan also said the family "is looking to find a place closer to home." Court filings state the alternate facility is in Arizona.
The developments follow a judge's decision on Monday to extend McMath's life support until Jan. 7 in the latest struggle between the teen's Christian family, who believe Jahi is still alive because her heart is beating, and the hospital. Dolan has filed suits in Alameda County, state appeals and U.S. District Court (PDF) in Oakland, essentially asking the same thing: To keep Jahi alive until she can be transferred to a facility that will accept her.
RAW VIDEO: Doctor Says "Jahi is Not Truly Dead"
Dolan on Tuesday also said the hospital still will not insert a tracheostomy tube and gastric feeding tube into Jahi to help in transferring her to another facility.
A state appeals court on Tuesday refused to order the hospital to insert the tubes, saying the issue has to go first to the lower court judge who has ordered the hospital to keep the girl on a ventilator until Jan. 7 pending the family's appeal. The 1st District Court of Appeal said it would consider the issue at a later date, if necessary.
Dolan said in court filings (PDF) on Monday the family plans to send Jahi by air ambulance on a private jet from Oakland to Long Island for $27,950. (PDF) The family has been fundraising to achieve that financial goal. Dolan's filings also sought to compel Children's Hospital to insert a tracheostomy tube and gastric feeding tube into Jahi — surgeries the hospital opposes because doctors do not perform operations on people who are legally dead.
Jahi's story has been making international headlines for the last three weeks, ever since she suffered complications from a tonsillectomy to cure her sleep apnea on Dec. 9. She started coughing up blood about 30 minutes after the surgery, her family said, and suffered a heart attack. She first was declared brain dead on Dec. 12. Two other doctors concurred, including a court-appointed, independent physician.
Aside from the legal wrangling and medical jargon, Jahi's mother, Latasha "Nailah" Winkfield doesn't want anyone to forget it's her daughter - who she said is "warm" and moves when she is touched - that everyone is talking about.
"I hate it that they refer to her as 'the body' or the deceased because that’s my child," Winkfield said Tuesday. "They don’t even use her hame. Her name is Jahi Mcmath and they don’t refer to her by name and I feel like that’s so disrespectful. "