Jahi McMath Personal Injury

April 14, 2015

The family of Jahi McMath, the teen at the center of a controversial case involving the removal of life support, has filed a lawsuit against a California medical facility over serious brain damage she suffered during surgery on Dec. 9, 2013. She was later declared brain dead at the same hospital and eventually transported to a care facility in Franklin Township, New Jersey.

The lawsuit includes claims that the family was pressured to donate her organs by the pediatric chief in an emotional confrontation at the facility. The teen underwent surgery for sleep apnea but suffered oxygen deprivation and serious blood loss before her heart stopped beating, resulting in significant brain damage. The family said they were given misleading information on how to care for her. They claimed medical negligence and serious emotional distress and have requested unspecified compensation. The hospital expressed their sympathy but did not comment on the pending case.

Reported Failures of the Medical Team

The family attorney reported that the hospital showed blatant disregard for the family after the hospital recommended the involved surgery despite the many risks to Jahi. Most doctors suggest a CPAP machine, a less-invasive option, before they proceed with surgery. If the CPAP machine is not effective, the surgeon might have removed her tonsils and adenoids, a less risky procedure, in an effort to address her sleep apnea. The lawyer further elaborated that the nurses did not offer clear explanations about the incident and were not empathetic toward the family.

Increased Medical Risk Leading to Death

During the operation, the surgeon found a medialized carotid, which seriously increased her risk for excessive bleeding. However, this risk reportedly was not communicated to the medical team that provided follow-up care for the 13-year-old. She began coughing up blood, but nurses did not report concerns to her parents, and she subsequently lost so much blood that her heart stopped beating. Doctors then unsuccessfully worked to revive her. Although she was declared brain dead and a death certificate was released, the family lawyer has contradicting documents from four other doctors who state that the teen is not brain dead.

Jahi was eventually relocated to a facility in New Jersey with similar patients there. The family wants the death certificate in California retracted so that they can return home. If the state will not comply, the family plans to file a lawsuit to secure her return.

GoFundMe page has been setup to help pay for medical expenses.

Medical professionals do not always agree regarding declaring someone brain dead, which causes involved legal issues. A personal injury attorney can help clients navigate through these complex matters and protect the rights of the family. Call our firm for help today!

  1. April 17, 2015

    Is this an advertisement for your law firm? If you are representing the mother, you would be doing her a BIG service in helping her accept the fact that her daughter died over a year ago and help the mother get on with her life. Right now, she’s sitting in some cold apartment in NJ, away from family and friends, watching every death twitch her daughter makes, believing it’s a sign Jahi’s waking up. It is beyond cruel to keep this mother hoping.

    • April 21, 2015

      Hi Erika, I appreciate your concerns. This is not an advertisement for my law firm, nor am I representing Jahi (and am completely unaffiliated with the representing attorney). As such, I am not in a position to help this mother move past Jahi’s state.

      This story is on my firm’s website because I found it interesting and nothing more. There are clearly many individuals out there who are passionate about this story and critical of Jahi’s mother (some of whom felt personally affected by my writing about this case). I am a third party, with no vested interest beyond interest itself.

      Thanks for stopping by and adding your input. One way or another and when she is ready to do so, Jahi’s mother will come to terms with the fate of her daughter – but it will most likely not be due to the pressures of those outside of herself, but rather the gradual realization from within.

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