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Tonsillectomy brain dead: Last doctor in teen's life or death condition chosen

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A girl who had a routine tonsillectomy is brain dead at Children's Hospital Oakland. A Superior Court judge in California has appointed another doctor to give a second opinion in the heartbreaking case of 13-year-old Jahi McMath remains on life support. On Monday, the judge in Oakland appointed Paul Graham Fisher, the chief of child neurology at Stanford University School of Medicine. He will examine Jahi to determine if she has any kind of chance at recovery, USA Today reports Dec. 23.

On Dec. 9 Jahi underwent a tonsillectomy to correct sleep apnea. Three days after the procedure she was brain dead after going into cardiac arrest. Doctors put her on life support, but wanted to remove her from it when they believed she had no chance of surviving. Jahi's family on the other hand are fighting for her life. The judge issued a court order to the hospital Friday that ordered them to keep her on the ventilator until a second opinion was made by a second doctor.

Fisher will appear in court Tuesday to present his findings on Jahi's condition. The family hopes Judge Evelio Grillo will "allow Paul Byrne, a pediatric professor at the University of Toledo, to perform an additional evaluation of Jahi," the report said.

The tonsillectomy that led to a patient being brain dead has resulted in a number of doctors unrelated to Jahi's case to give their medical opinions.

An overwhelming prognosis by all of them was this:

"There is absolutely no medical possibility that (Jahi's) condition is reversible or that she will someday recover from death," declarations from the doctors said. "Thus, there is no medical justification to provide any further medical treatment whatsoever."

Jahi's mother -- Nailah Winkfield -- shared that her daughter was bleeding profusely after the tonsillectomy before going into cardia arrest and ultimately being diagnosed as "brain dead."

Jahi's family believes God will intervene and help her "wake up."

The girl's mother wrote on Facebook, "Despite what they say, she is alive. I can touch her, she is warm. She responds to my touch. Given time I know (God) will spark her brain awake."

Children's Hospital Oakland said in a statement to Winkfield that "it would be unfair to give false hope that Jahi will come back to life."

Will Paul Graham Fisher find something none of the other doctors have in Jahi McMath's prognosis? This is a parent's worst nightmare. The words "tonsillectomy" and "brain dead" should not go together, but the human body responds in unusual ways over the simplest of medical procedures. Hopefully the family will get the answer they are looking for.



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