A lawyer for a family whose 13-year-old was declared brain dead following a tonsillectomy to cure her sleep apnea filed an ''urgent'' request with the courts on Tuesday, the same day hospital employees planned to take the girl off life support. Christie Smith reports.
They are a family of God, and they are praying for a miracle.
Relatives of Jahi McMath, a 13-year-old girl who was declared legally dead on Monday following a tonsillectomy that prompted a heart attack, are hoping that an electroencephalogram test scheduled for Tuesday at Children's Hospital will show some signs of life.
"If the EEG shows any signs of brain activity than they can't take her off," Jahi's uncle, Omari Sealey said. "And we still have time."
In addition, the family is now being represented by the law firm of Chris Dolan, who filed an "urgent" injuction against the hospital, urging that Jahi not be taken off life support until there can be a "judicial determination."
It is not immediately clear if a court date has been scheduled to review the matter.
Doctors late Monday agreed to run one more series of tests to determine if there is any brain activity coming from Jahi, an 8th grader at E.C. Reems Academy of Technology and Arts. Earlier in the day, doctors planned to take her off life support after she was declared brain dead on Dec. 12.
Her family has taken to the media, and threatened to involve lawyers, after they feel something went horribly wrong following Jahi's Dec. 9 tonsillectomy to help cure her sleep apnea. Following the surgery, relatives said Jahi was alert and asking for a popsicle. But 30 minutes later, she was choking up blood and went into cardiac arrest for reasons unexplained.
Jahi's family has also reached out to Oakland Mayor Jean Quan to see if she can help delay the hospital from taking the girl off life support. It is unclear what action, if any, Quan will take.
Dr. David Durand, the head of pediatrics, told the family that they will take Jahi off life support Tuesday, though the girl's family said earlier they were vehemently against that.
Durand said the hospital can't disclose the details of Jahi's case because her family asked it not to disclose them to the media. "Consequently, we are not able to correct misperceptions created about this sad situation," Durant said in a statement Tuesday.
Under California law, “A person who is declared brain dead is legally and physiologically dead.”
Jahi’s family says they can’t believe they have no rights. They say they want to keep Jahi on life support. They’re even willing to take her to another hospital or a nursing home, but in accordance with the law, the hospital is saying no.
A spokeswoman for the hospital said staff is "currently reviewing the case and we do not have enough information to make any further statements at this time."
“We are very sad about her condition and our hearts go out to her family," spokeswoman Melinda Krigel said in an email.
Her grandmother is keeping Jahi's pearl earrings safe in her purse, hoping that her grandaughter will wake up to put them back in. "Pearls bring you luck," Sandra Chatman said outside the hospital late Monday night. "We're still praying for a miracle. Sometimes God helps you at the last minute."
NBC Bay Area's George Kiriyama, Cheryl Hurd and Caitline Matalone contributed to this report.