The family of Jahi McMath, the 17-year-old deemed brain-dead after a tonsillectomy, has received some good news.
According to the Associated Press, a California judge ruled this week that Jahi may technically still be alive, which would allow their medical malpractice lawsuit against the California hospital which declared her brain-dead to move forward.
This would include a jury determining whether or not Jahi is dead or alive, which would increase the damages jurors could award if they determine Children’s Hospital in Oakland doctors botched the teen’s surgery that was supposed to help alleviate her sleep apnea.
Chris Dolan, who represents the family is seeking to rescind Jahi’s death certificate, said the family was “overjoyed” with the judge’s ruling.
“It’s literally a matter of life and death,” he said.
As we previously reported, three doctors declared the teen legally dead and tried to take her off of life support which Jahi’s mother, Nailah Winkfield, fought in court. The family was forced to relocate from Oakland to New Jersey in order to have Jahi stay in a facility that was willing to give her health care.
Why the lawsuit?
See in California, non-economic damages such as pain and suffering are capped at $250,000 for medical malpractice, but the family could get more money for Jahi’s care if she isn’t declared dead, which is what California doctors claim she is currently. But if Jahi’s family wins, they can bring her home where doctors would be forced to give her care.
Since her daughter’s tragic surgery, Winkfield has stressed that Jahi is “healthy” and is very much “still alive. ”
“Jahi Will Rise. A recent picture of beautiful Jahi, doing very well, hair, skin and all very healthy, growing into a beautiful young lady right in front of her mothers eyes. God has done and is still doing great things in this young girls life. Jahi’s Journey and Miracle is a story and testimony to be told” she wrote on the“Keep Jahi Mcmath on Life Support” Facebook page last year.
Meanwhile, Children’s Hospital in Oakland doctors stress that Jahi has irreversible brain damage from a lack of oxygen and even suffered cardiac arrest.