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Family of brain-dead Calif. girl weighs aid offers

Posted: December 26, 2013 2:52 p.m.
Updated: December 26, 2013 2:52 p.m.

Dede Logan, of Oakland, adds red stars to a poster in support of Jahi McMath in front of Children's Hospital Oakland in Oakland on Monday.


OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Relatives of a 13-year-old girl who was declared brain dead after complications from a tonsillectomy were debating whether to accept the aid of nursing homes and outside groups that have proposed moving the child so she can be kept on life support, a family lawyer said Thursday.

A religious group that has a facility in New York is among the organizations that have offered to care for Jahi McGrath, said the lawyer, Christopher Dolan. He declined to identify those making the offers but described them as "people who are firmly committed to the concept of life."

"Offers are coming in, and there's a real demonstration of support," Dolan said, adding that strangers have been prompted to contact the family by publicity surrounding Jahi's case and her mother's fight to keep Children's Hospital Oakland from removing the ventilator and IV fluids that are keeping the girl's body functioning.

Among the factors relatives will be weighing are the potential costs of ongoing specialized care out-of-state and whether any of them would be able to go and stay with Jahi, Dolan said.

The family also is discussing if it should accept the opinions of doctors who say Jahi has no chance of recovering, or if it should appeal a judge's decision that allows the hospital to take her off life support Monday, he said.

"They are going to start having those discussions as a family today," Dolan told the Oakland Tribune on Thursday morning ( ). "They are very difficult, heart-wrenching decisions, obviously, and they need time among themselves to figure out what they're going to do. They'll come to those decisions in their own time."

Jahi underwent tonsil surgery at Children's Hospital this month to treat sleep apnea. After she awoke from the surgery, her family said, she started bleeding heavily from her mouth and went into cardiac arrest. After her doctors concluded she was brain dead and moved to remove the ventilator, her family went to court to stop them, saying as long as she was breathing they held out hope.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo appointed an outside expert to examine the girl before ruling Tuesday that the hospital could take her off life support after 5 p.m. Monday.

The family spent Christmas Day in Jahi's hospital room, which relatives decorated with gifts and a tree.

"At least Christmas gave these folks a little breathing room," Dolan said. "The hospital was pushing, pushing, pushing from the word go, and these folks just never really had time to process it in a way that would be a normal way."


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