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Tonsillectomy brain death: No legal obligation for life support? New doc called

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A tonsillectomy brain death case has gotten more complicated this week as the family of a 13-year-old girl who suffered brain death from procedural complications while getting her tonsils removed is now being asked to seek a second opinion from a new doc, cited as an independent physician. If the neurologist finds that the teen is truly brain dead, the hospital then has “no legal obligation” to maintain life support. The Inquisitr provides the most recent developments to this sad story this Monday, Dec. 23, 2013.

The tonsillectomy brain death tragedy involves Jahi McMath of California, a 13-year-old girl who underwent a routine tonsil removal to help with her sleep apnea, but soon suffered cardiac arrest and then became brain dead. While the child’s family wants to keep her alive and insists Jahi might come back, the hospital argues that the girl has suffered irreparable damage to her brain stem and cells, and as such can never come back.

A judge has decided to order a second opinion from a new doc — an independent neurologist that can be chosen by Jahi McMath’s family — to ascertain whether the girl is fully brain dead or not. The Superior Court official has since halted Children’s Hospital of Oakland to remove life support unless it can be proven that the medical center holds no legal obligation to keep her alive.

Once her condition has been assessed, the results will dictate whether the McMath’s can keep their child on life support, or whether it shall be removed. If the physician deems she is gone, despite the family’s insistence she lives on with them, then the hospital can essentially pull the plug.

The source offers some background on this tonsillectomy brain death incident that’s become the source of national attention in the U.S. this week:

“Nailah Winkfield said her 13-year-old daughter was taken to the children’s hospital for a routine tonsillectomy. However, there were serious complications during surgery and McMath began bleeding uncontrollably. The teen eventually suffered cardiac arrest. She was declared brain-dead on December 12 … So far, two docs have agreed that McMath is brain-dead. Chief of pediatrics, Dr. David Durand, issued a statement about the teen’s grave condition:

“When one’s brain ceases to function, it never restarts. We have the deepest sympathy for Jahi’s mother… but the only thing maintaining this child is a ventilator machine… it would be unfair to give false hope that Jahi will come back to life.”

Court documents from each medical specialist has also confirmed that all of McMath’s brain, as well as her stem, are no longer functioning. The final neurologist’s decision and any legal obligation for keeping the child on life support is expected to be made by the end of this week.

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