Christian Family Who Fought for ‘Brain Dead’ Teen Claims Girl Has Regained Brain Activity

McMathOAKLAND, Calif. — The family of a teenage girl who was declared “brain dead” by doctors last year following a tonsillectomy and other throat and nasal procedures claims that the child has regained brain activity and seeks a court ruling reversing her declaration of death.

As previously reported, the matter centers around 13-year-old Jahi McMath, who underwent an operation at Children’s Hospital and Research Center in December, as doctors had recommended the operation to help alleviate her sleep apnea, irregular weight gain and urination issues.

But her uncle, Omari Sealey, said that the girl was apprehensive even before going under the knife.

“The worst thing about all of this is that Jahi told my sister, ‘I don’t want to get this surgery; something bad is going to happen. I’m not going to wake up,’” he told CNN.

McMath reportedly asked for a Popsicle following the procedure, advising that her throat hurt. But soon after, the girl’s family knew that something was terribly wrong.

“When she got moved to ICU, there was a 30-minute wait until any family member could go see her,” her grandmother, Sandy Chapman, told reporters. “Upon entry, they saw that there was way too much 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,” she continued. “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.”

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When McMath’s oxygen levels then began to fall dangerously low, Chapman called for help. The girl later went into cardiac arrest and was declared brain dead. Days later, doctors pronounced her legally dead and sought to take her off life support.

McMath’s family has been fighting the matter in court ever since. Natasha Winkfield, McMath’s mother, reached an agreement with Children’s Hospital and Research Center, to allow the girl to be transferred out of the hospital. She has been receiving care at an undisclosed location ever since.

But the family says that McMath has made improvements as her MRI shows neurological activity, and that the girl is able to respond to commands. As her body is also functioning, including the onset of puberty, McMath’s family is asking the court to overturn its ruling declaring the girl brain dead.

“This court, having made such a determination, must consider the change in circumstances presented by plaintiff’s evidence which shows Jahi’s condition is now one in which Jahi now has brain function,” a petition to the court states. “There is simply no case, other than Jahi McMath, where a pediatric patient has been diagnosed as brain dead but has continued to receive medical treatment and survived this long.”

International Brain Research Foundation CEO Phil Defina, PhD, and neurologist Calixto Machado spoke at a press conference about the matter on Friday, and video footage was played for the media showing McMath responding to simple requests.

“It took me some months to fight with [the decision to conduct further brain scans], because if she doesn’t [show signs of brain activity], what will I do?” Winkfield stated at the event. “But I knew because I’m her mother, and I talk to her and she responds. . . . I will never give up on her.”

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  • desbly

    I support the Mothers tenacious stand for her daughter. Perhaps her brain is healing and she can come out of this. I have always believed that people in this state or in a comatose state have been taken off life support entirely too quickly without allowing a chance to see if the brain will indeed heal itself over time. Jesus is the healer. We should uphold this girl and family in prayers. With G-d all things are possible.

    • Randy Steele

      Haha, you and the mother a fucking insane.

  • BarkingDawg

    Whoosh full thinking sometimes causes people to make claims that are patently untrue.

    • Irene Howard

      uh you just saw the girl move her hand on command. Twice. Are you saying what you and I just saw is untrue…or are you just wishful thinking…

    • alnga

      And you know this is the case in this instance, or is that your wishful thinking?

  • BarkingDawg
  • Maranatha2011

    God bless this mom. Anyone who wouldn’t do as much for their child has a stone where their heart should be.

  • Kathy English

    Those tapes did not make compelling evidence.

    • Irene Howard

      They say that about sonograms too…not “compelling evidence” that the “thing” in there with kicking legs and sucking it’s thumb is a viable human being…seems like when it comes to preserving life, however life is presented to us, there is never enough viable evidence for those who have an agenda for the continued destruction of life.

  • Krauss Allie

    I hate to break this to the many here who want this story to have a happy ending, but brain dead is dead. Period. There is no coming back. That her body has movement and is undergoing puberty is evidence of her hormones and muscles still being alive, but ‘she’ is sadly, dead, as in, not alive. I’ll refrain from going into the Dead Parrot sketch here out of deference for her family, but the notion in that Monty Python sketch is actually quite appropriate. She is no more. It’s quite understandable that her family is optimistic and hopes for a positive outcome, but it is the responsibility of every medical professional involved to be honest with the family so that she may go peacefully and her family can begin to grieve.

    Those of you who are supporting the mother may certainly have good intentions, but in reality, your position does much more harm than good in cases like these. Look at the torture the families of Terry Schaivo had to endure during that debacle. The doctors said time and time again she was brain dead, but the family and Christians from around the world watched a video tape and concluded that she was indeed a sentient being. When she did finally pass, the autopsy revealed exactly what the doctors had been trying to tell everybody…. her brain had atrophied so badly there was hardly anything left. At the risk of being overly graphic here, I think it’s worth it to demonstrate my point… you see, her pastor said she could follow objects with her eyes. Upon autopsy, her visual cortex was revealed to be a gray, soupy, liquid. Though her eyes moved, she was seeing nothing. Terry Schaivo was already dead. The poor girl in this story too, is already dead. Let her go. Don’t prolong the inevitable to satisfy your personal wishes for a miracle that to date, has never, ever occured in documented science. Not once.