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Associated Press
Nailah Winkfield says her daughter, Jahi McMath, was left brain dead after what should have been a routine tonsillectomy.

Judge keeps girl on life support

Family seeks 2nd opinion in tonsil case

– A judge on Friday ordered a California hospital to keep a girl declared brain dead on life support following what was supposed to be a routine tonsillectomy.

The ruling by Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo came as both sides in the case agreed to get together to choose a neurologist to examine 13-year-old Jahi McMath and determine her condition. The judge scheduled a hearing Monday to appoint a physician.

The girl’s family sought the court order to keep Jahi on a ventilator while they seek another opinion. They left the courtroom without commenting.

The family says doctors at Children’s Hospital Oakland wanted to disconnect life support after Jahi was declared brain dead Dec. 12.

After her daughter underwent a supposedly routine tonsillectomy and was moved to a recovery room, Nailah Winkfield began to fear that something was going horribly wrong.

Jahi was sitting in bed, her hospital gown bloody, holding a cup full of blood.

“Is this normal?” Winkfield repeatedly asked nurses.

With her family and hospital staff trying to help and comfort her, Jahi bled profusely for the next few hours then went into cardiac arrest, her mother said.

Hospital officials said they couldn’t discuss the case because the family hasn’t given them permission to do so.

In a statement Thursday, Dr. David Durand, the hospital’s pediatrics chief, wrote of Jahi’s case: “We are unable – without the family’s permission – to talk about the medical procedure, background or any of the details that are a part of this tragedy.”

In an interview at Children’s Hospital Oakland on Thursday night, Winkfield described the nightmarish turn of events after her daughter underwent tonsil removal surgery to help with her sleep apnea.

She said that even before the surgery, her daughter had expressed fears that she wouldn’t wake up after the operation. To everyone’s relief, she appeared alert, was talking and even ate a Popsicle afterward.

But about a half-hour later, she began bleeding from her mouth and nose despite efforts by hospital staff and her family.

While the bleeding continued, Jahi wrote a note to her mother, asking to have her nose wiped because she felt it running. Her mother said she didn’t want to scare her daughter by saying it was blood.

Family members said there were containers of Jahi’s blood in the room, and hospital staff members were providing transfusions to counteract the blood loss.

“I don’t know what a tonsillectomy is supposed to look like after you have it, but that blood was un-normal for anything,” Winkfield said.

The family said hospital officials told them Thursday that they wanted to take the girl off life support quickly.

“I just looked at the doctor to his face, and I told him, you better not touch her,” Winkfield said.

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