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article imageComatose girl's family files lawsuit against California hospital

By Nathan Salant     Mar 6, 2015 in World
Oakland - The family of a young girl whose heart stopped during routine surgery in 2013 and had to sue to prevent a Northern California hospital from turning off her life support has sued the medical facility for malpractice.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Alameda County Superior Court by Jahi McMath’s mother and stepfather, claims doctors and nurses at Children’s Hospital Oakland failed to respond properly to the family’s requests for medical help after the girl began bleeding.
Jahi was 13 years old when she entered Children’s Hospital on the morning of Dec. 9, 2013, for surgery to treat sleep apnea but she failed to recover from anesthesia, suffered a heart attack and was declared brain-dead a few days later.
The case became a national issue when Jahi’s mother and stepfather, Nailah and Marvin Winkfield, refused to allow the hospital to disconnect the girl from life support machines maintaining her breathing and obtained a court order allowing them to move Jahi to another location.
The Winkfields believe Jahi is still alive, according to the San Jose Mercury News.
Issues in the case include the right to die, the right to medical care, the role of religion, the right of parents to make decisions on behalf of their children, and who has the final word about the distribution and use of advanced medical equipment.
Jahi and her family did move to an undisclosed facility in New Jersey, where the girl, now 15, is being kept alive with the help of breathing machines.
The suit also named one of Jahi’s physicians, Dr. Frederick Rosen.
In the suit, the Winkfields contend that Children’s Hospital refused to attend to their daughter for five hours after she began bleeding following surgery, and she eventually suffered a heart attack and was declared brain dead on Dec. 12.
The Winkfields also allege that nurses gave conflicting statements about Jahi’s care and pressured them to sign organ donation forms.
More about California, Oakland, Jahi, McMath, Winkfield
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