Jahi McMath’s Family Wants Teen Declared ‘Alive’

Stephen A. Crockett Jr.
Jahi McMath

Jahi McMath, the 13-year-old Oakland, Calif., teen who became the center of a national debate last year regarding end-of-life decision-making after doctors declared her legally dead when her family believed otherwise, is reportedly showing signs of life.

According to CBS San Francisco, Jahi's family is petitioning the courts to have an Alameda County judge declare the teen alive. The news station notes that Jahi, who in December suffered cardiac arrest during an operation to treat sleep apnea at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland, is showing signs of brain activity and is responding to her mother's voice.   


"Medical experts, including world-class experts on brain death … will testify she is not brain-dead," Chris Dolan, the family’s attorney, told the news station.

Dolan told CBS " … there is visual and EEG evidence of brain activity that will be shared at a planned press conference Friday."

According to the death certificate for Jahi signed by the Alameda County coroner on Dec. 12, the teen has been "dead" for some months, but the family has argued that Jahi has always responded to touch and has continually showed signs of life. Because doctors considered Jahi dead, they refused to treat her, arguing that because she was brain-dead, they were not obligated by law to treat her. The family fought the decision and was able to get a court order to move Jahi to an undisclosed location. 

"The California courts, the Alameda County coroner and the state of California will evaluate any claims made by the family’s attorneys and decide them in a lawful and just manner," Dr. David Durand at UCSF told CBS. Durand also told the news station that the hospital has not spoken with McMath's family since Jan. 5.

Read more at CBS San Francisco.

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