A routine surgery to improve the quality of life has cost a 13-year old in California to lose her life instead.
Jahi McMath, 13, went to have her tonsils removed last week at the local Children’s Hospital. She was expected to stay overnight, the local CBS affiliate reports, but she began bleeding from her nose and mouth shortly after her tonsillectomy. She went into cardiac arrest, and doctors say she is now brain dead.
“After the surgery, she (Jahi) was fine. She went into the recovery room. She was alert and talking, and she was asking for a Popsicle because she said her throat hurt. As part of the procedure, she was meant to spend the night in ICU,” Jahi’s uncle Omari Sealey said. “When she got moved to ICU, there was a 30-minute wait until any family member could go see her. Upon entry, they saw that there was way too much blood.”
“She lost four pints of blood. She had to have four blood transfusions. She had two liters of blood pumped out of her lungs, not including what was in her stomach,” Sealey said. “There was an enormous amount of blood, and we kept asking, ‘Is this normal?’ Some nurses said I don’t know and some said yes. There was a lot of uncertainty and a lack of urgency.”
“The worst thing about all of this is that Jahi told my sister (Jahi’s Mother, Nailah), ‘I don’t want to get this surgery, something bad is going to happen. I’m not going to wake up,’” Jahi’s uncle Omari Sealey told CNN in a phone interview Monday.
The hospital announced in a statement that it will be going forward with an investigation but did not comment on the specifics of the procedure or complications during recovery.
“We’re very sad about this outcome, about what’s happened to her, but at this point I have no information on the details of the surgery,” hospital spokesperson Melinda Kriegel said. “We will certainly investigate what happened. In any surgery there are risks and there can be unexpected, unanticipated complications.”
Jahi suffered from pediatric obstructive sleep apnea, which caused severe snoring, stop-and-go breathing in her sleep, a lack of an attention span and urinating on herself.
Jahi’s mother, Nailah, and stepfather, Marvin Winkfield, had a sleep study done on Jahi and two doctors recommended a tonsillectomy to improve her condition.
By Monday afternoon, doctors told the family that Jahi is considered legally dead. Dr. David Durand, the head of pediatrics, told the family that they will take Jahi off life support Tuesday.
On late Monday, Doctors agreed to do a series of tests to determine if Jahi has any brain activity. Earlier in the day, doctors planned to take her off life support after she was declared brain dead on Dec. 12.
Jahi McMath is currently brain dead and is being kept alive on life support.
An official from the Oakland coroner’s office told CNN that Jahi’s death was reported to them on Thursday.
“Once a death is reported to us, we have a duty and responsibility to immediately proceed to where the body lies, examine the body, make identification, make inquiry into the circumstances, manner, and means of death, and, as circumstances warrant, either order its removal for further investigation or disposition, or release the body to the next of kin,” the official said, quoting California Government Code Section 27491.
Sealey confirmed the coroner is scheduled to come for Jahi’s body Tuesday but said the family is prepared to fight. They can’t believe they have no rights. They say they want to keep Jahi on life support.
“I am not leaving unless she leaves with me because I will not let them pull the plug on my child,” the girl’s mother, Nailah Winkfield says. “I Don’t Want to Bury My 13-Year-Old.”
“It’s not even up to us to even keep her on life support, because she’s been legally dead,” said Jahi’s uncle. “It’s so hard for my family. It’s so hard for me.”
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.
Teen Brain Dead After Tonsil Surgery
The family of an Oakland 13-year-old girl is demanding answers after a surgery went horribly awry: How did a routine procedure to help fix her sleep apnea turn tragic when the 8th grader was declared brain dead two days after having her tonsils removed?
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