Children’s Hospital agrees to release Jahi McMath’s body to her mother

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Good afternoon:

The clock is ticking . . .

Pursuant to a temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by Judge Grillo of the Superior Court, Children’s Hospital in Oakland will remove Jahi McMath from a ventilator at 5 pm on Tuesday, January 7th, unless the conditions in the stipulation below are met. Nailah Winkfield (Jahi McMath’s mother) and Children’s Hospital in Oakland reached this agreement yesterday afternoon regarding the hospital’s release of Jahi McMath’s body to her mother for transfer to a hospital willing to take her.

This agreement is acceptable to both sides because the transfer will be via the Coroner, who has already issued a death certificate.


1. The Coroner has to sign a document acknowledging that it has accepted Jahi McMath’s body from the hospital.

2. Nailah Winkfield must agree that she shall be wholly and exclusively responsible for Jahi McMath the moment custody is transferred in the hospital’s pediatric intensive care unit and acknowledge that she understands that the transfer and subsequent transport could impact the condition of the body, including causing cardiac arrest.

3. The TRO existing under the Superior Court’s order of December 26, 2013, as extended to 5 pm January 7, 2014 by order of December 30, 2013 shall be dissolved and of no further enforceability effective upon the transfer of the body in the ICU.

4. The transfer team will be allowed to use the Dover Street entrance and park in the driveway circle with aaccess provided to the adjacent entrance used by the air transport teams that use Children’s heliport.

5. The transfer team will be permitted to come into the ICU-transfer Jahi to their gurney-transfer her her IV’s and other fluids to their poles, transfer the endotracheal tube and attached hose to their vent-be allowed to take the Pulse Ox Indicator-leads or other items attached to Jahi’s body (if they so desire) and then once they have her situated they take her down to the Dover Street entrance.

6. At the time of transfer, her current orders, medications, and medication orders and other recent orders and a status report on her current vital signs and instrument labs will be provided to the transport team to a new facility.

7. This stipulation lasts as long as the current TRO lasts, but no longer.

And so, this agonizing horror story continues with a brain-dead child and a mother who refuses to believe that her daughter is dead.

I feel really bad for Jahi’s mother and I hope others will join me in praying for her to accept that Jahi’s spirit has moved on to the spirit world and is no longer among the living.

24 Responses to Children’s Hospital agrees to release Jahi McMath’s body to her mother

  1. Rachael says:

    Here’s one where a lady in Texas is brain dead but they will NOT allow her family to take her off life support. This is really sad.

    • aussie says:

      Rachel that one is different. They CAN NOT allow her to be taken off. It is the LAW in Texas that a pregnant woman has to be kept on support, to give the baby a chance to survive. Apparently there have been several cases where this worked out well and the baby was eventually delivered (C section) with no apparent ill effects. This woman was 11 weeks when she lost consciousness.

      • Rachael says:

        I understand, but I disagree with the law. It is really sad that they can make a law like that. I agree with everything fauxmccoy says below.

    • fauxmccoy says:

      rachael — my husband and i have been discussing this one for days. quite simply, it is unbelievable to me that texas (and MANY other states) can over ride a woman’s own advanced directive or DNR simply because she is pregnant.

      the moral and ethical questions this raises are mind blowing. does this man want to be a single parent? is HE responsible for what will be staggering medical bills? what damage was done to the fetus due to the mother’s health issue and lack of oxygen. the state is putting this man in a horrible position and the whole thing just reinforces what i often refer to as the ‘forced birth party’ which completely denies the rights of a woman … the state apparently owns wombs.

      the situation is horrific, no newly pregnant woman or her thoughtful partner would want to be in this position. i do know that if it had happened to me, that i would prefer to move on to the next phase after death (whatever that may be) with my unborn child still intact and with me.

  2. aussie says:

    Narcissist doctor. No way he was going to change his mind, once he’d decided a C-section wasn’t needed.

    Overdue for a national registry of banned or warned-off doctors. Each State could still license their own, but cancellations should be recorded centrally.

    This one needs to be charged with murder though.

  3. JJ says:

    Another doctor with hubris – caused death during delivery in Texas.
    Forceps Delivery Crushed Baby’s Skull, Caused Death, Family Alleges

    • gblock says:

      Both of my babies were face-up, like this baby was. They were born by vacuum extraction. To me, it seem likes this may be a better option than forceps, although it also sounds like this particular doctor had more serious issues.

  4. riisey007 says:

    Sorry but I am a Registered Respiratory therapist. I have done many apnea tests on brain dead patients, this child is different from Schiavo, this child will not breathe on her own because she is incapable of breathing without a brain stem response,if she was gonna breathe she would have breathed during the apnea trial. The point of the apnea trial is to prove she can maintain her own life functions. We can not kill someone in order to prove they are dead!!that is the point of the apnea test. First I place the patient in a mode in which they have to breathe for themselves, once that fails I place them back in support mode, next step I provide them 100% oxygen off off of the ventilator, it is called a t piece, when the patient does not breathe within an appointed time, I then place them back on the ventilator because as I said, I can’t kill them to prove they are dead if that makes sense We also prove brain activity through eeg and CT. she can be on the ventilator until her organs start to shut down and her heart begins to fail. Once this happens she will go into cardiac arrest. The ventilator is breathing for her, she does not breathe for herself. I deal with families all the time, most do not think about the patient. If you know the child needs the ventilator then that should explain a lot. I am sure her parents know she is brain dead but they are hoping for a miracle. Is this right? No!! God bless this child.

  5. groans says:

    Has there been any mention of insurance coverage, or lack thereof, and/or payment issues in this case? Just wondering because I haven’t noticed any information or comments here about that aspect.

    • riisey007 says:

      Insurance pays a lump sum, contrary to popular belief insurance does not pay per your daily inpatient visit. There is an allotted amount that they pay. Say your hospital bill is 40,000 insurance will pay maybe 20,000. This child’s hospital stay with all of the critical care she has to have is at least 1million by now. Those drugs are expensive. The cheapest thing in the ICU is me and the all honesty. I haven’t a clue if they have insurance or not but at this point it does not matter due to the bill. The hospital is footing the bill but they will be sued anyway. It seems they didn’t bother to take her back to surgery and assumed she would stop bleeding. It’s a sad situation.

  6. Finley Boyle, a 3-year-old girl, just died in Hawaii after undergoing dental surgery.

    • aussie says:

      No excuse for this one. What 3 year old needs root canal work? that tooth is going to fall out by itself in a year or two.

      I remember dental work as a kid — they only used laughing gas., That was safe. The new stuff should not be used outside a hospital setting, and the by an anesthetist, someone who knows what he’s doing.

      I also heard later, but can’t at all remember, about them taking nearly 4 hours to bring me around after a simple appendectomy, having given me a “bit extra” when I didn’t go under as fast as average. (Late teens). So even the experts can make mistakes.

      • fauxmccoy says:

        @aussie — no matter what age, the anesthesia portion of surgery is the highest risk of all. my mom, the RN, taught me at a young age to demand to see the ‘crash cart’ at any oral surgeon’s and to walk away if they did not have one that was well equipped. she taught me how to ask the questions i needed in order to make good decisions on that front. i will be forever grateful, as will my husband and children.

      • gblock says:

        I had an oral surgeon for a root canal on a back tooth a few years ago. I had local anesthesia only – I don’t think I had laughing gas. It wasn’t that bad – like getting a filling, only more so.

        Perhaps the fact that the little girl was having work done on so many teeth at the same time necessitated different handling. However, I agree that a young child should not have been given the heavy-duty anesthetics without an anesthesiologist and a crash cart present.

  7. Lynn says:

    Coming to terms with the fact that your loved one is gone is not an option, it’s a fact. A cold hard fact that people face every day. Like it or not, you can’t start giving the family the choice of keeping the body around for all long as they like to say goodbye or get over the denial phase. That is just wrong.

    Everyone handles their grief differently. When my brother died at 15 (I was 13) my parents had a closed casket because they wanted to remember him as he left the house that morning. He was happy and their last memory was of his happiness.

    I wonder what Jahi’s parents will remember as their last memory? When they get past the phases and accept their daughter’s death will they regret their actions? I believe they will look back with a heavy heart. What type of last memory will they have? So sad.

    My first child died at the age of two. He was born with multiple problems and we were told he would not live past his 1st birthday. Still, when he died we didn’t expect it. I mean, we didn’t know the day nor hour so we were made to deal with it suddenly. His heart just stopped one day after a long seizure. We were at an airshow and traffic made it impossible to get out. EMTs performed CPR 45 minutes waiting for a helicopter to transport. I couldn’t ride in the helicopter with him. I drove with a military police escort over curbs and through grass until we reached the exit. The drive to the hospital was an eternity, but I had come to accept that when I got there I would be greeted with news of his death. I was at peace.
    When I entered the hospital they whisked me into the solitary side room to wait for the doctor. He came in and told me they had got a heartbeat. 6 beats a minute. I was told to wait. Soon they came in and told me my child had passed and asked if I wanted to see him.
    I went in and sat beside him and held his little hand. I felt at peace. I knew he was at peace.Never once did I think of him as alive anytime after his heart stopped in that airfield. To me he died peacefully right there. They worked to revive him for quite a long time and managed with enough epinephrine to get a heartbeat. But to me, that was not alive. They did not bring him back. They got a muscle to beat for a mere moment. My child was dead when he flew in that helicopter. I will never think differently.

    • Marilyn Reynolds says:

      Your story is heartbreaking. I’m so sorry this happened to you and your family. We can only hope to have the grace and clarity that you have demonstrated in the face of such great loss. You are a great lady and I’m sure that you were a great mom to your son. Thank you for sharing your story.

  8. @Malisha:

    Yes, I remember Terri Schiavo and how long she survived, and how long she survived and how difficult it was for her family. I also remember how long Sunny Von Bulow lasted in her coma, for almost a decade and I believe, and Karen Ann Quinlin in the 70’s. Ms. Quinlin was removed from her life support and she still survived and breathed on her own until she passed away on her own so many years later.

    You don’t know how many of these cases I have seen in my Nursing career. I remember when I once worked temp in a Nursing Home and their was a resident who had been there for a year. She was declared brain dead, but her family wanted her kept alive and she was kept alive until she died a year later. One elderly resident pulled me aside and stated to me, ‘You know, most of us in here have DNR on our charts?’ I nodded and stated that I was aware of that, and he continued by stating, ‘Once it is over, it is over. Do not keep me alive once my brain function is gone. If I am unable to laugh, eat holding a knife and fork, not be able to watch television or play cards, or just talk to my fellow residents? I do not wish to live as a vegetable with a ventilator breathing for me or fed with a feeding tube.’ I also feel the same way. My prayers to the family that in time. May God be with them during this difficult time.

  9. Malisha says:

    Wow, I’m impressed that they worked this out. Very good!

    Still, this case is not analogous to the Schiavo case. It just seems to tug the same (contrasting) heart strings. I could distinguish this case. The child went from alive to dead pretty quickly and definitively, unlike Terry Schiavo.

  10. fauxmccoy says:

    this sounds like a reasonable compromise. the hospital must relieve themselves of a dead body that is taking up necessary bed space in their ICU and this seems like the most appropriate method. i am hoping that the mere act of the coroner and funeral home the body must be transferred to will make some impact on this grief stricken mother and help her begin the true grieving process, but i do not have much hope, especially if t he schiavo clan is involved (and it is).

    i am sure that we are all aware of the kubler-ross stages of grief, being that of


    this poor mother is still in denial and this stage will continue until she comes to terms with the truth. i wish her well in the process.

  11. bettykath says:

    I believe Jahi spirit has left her body but it is probably sticking around trying to comfort her mother. Her mother needs a quiet space where she can talk to Jahi and ask her questions about the alternatives. If done with belief and openness, Jahi will help her.

  12. Two sides to a story says:

    Amen. May the family find peace and let this baby go.

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