Mother Creates Online Fundraiser to Get Brain-Dead Daughter Airlifted to Facility

PHOTO: Jahi McMath remains on life support at Childrens Hospital Oakland nearly a week after doctors declared her brain dead.
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The mother of a girl declared brain dead has started an online fundraiser to get the money needed to airlift her daughter to a facility where she will be put on long-term life support, according to ABC station KGO-TV in San Francisco.

Jahi McMath, 13, was declared brain dead following a surgery to remove her tonsils and adenoids on Dec. 9. For weeks her family has been battling with the Children's Hospital Oakland to keep Jahi on life support, even though multiple doctors say she is brain dead with no hope of recovery.

An Oakland judge ruled Tuesday that the hospital could remove Jahi from life support only after the family had time to appeal or make other arraignments. The judge made his decision after being presented with evidence from an independent neurologist that Jahi was brain-dead.

The hospital will be able to remove Jahi from life support after 5 p.m., Dec. 30 at 5pm.

Jahi's mother, Latasha Nailah Winkfield, created an online fundraiser Friday in the hopes that they can raise $20,000 to airlift Jahi to an unidentified facility in southern California.

As the family attempts to raise money to move Jahi, another legal battle has been brewing between Jahi's family and Children's Hospital Oakland.

While Jahi's family wants her to be moved to a facility where she can remain on life support, the hospital has questioned the logistics and legality of moving her.

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In a letter to Christopher Dolan, the lawyer for the family of Jahi McMath, Children's Hospital Oakland lawyer Douglas Straus said the hospital "will allow a lawful transfer of Jahi's body in its current state to another location if the family can arrange such a transfer and Children's can legally do so."

However, the letter questioned whether this would be legally possible, in part because the coroner would need to sign off on moving Jahi and the family would need proper transportation.

According to The Associated Press, Dolan said the Alameda Coroner had signed consent to the transfer. However, when reached by phone, the coroner's office declined to comment and referred all questions to Children's Hospital Oakland.

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Calls to Children's Hospital Oakland were not immediately returned.

Additionally, before Jahi can be moved a surgeon must perform a tracheotomy and implant a feeding tube on the teenager. The hospital has refused to perform the procedures.

"Children's Hospital Oakland does not believe that performing surgical procedures on the body of a deceased person is an appropriate medical practice," David Durand, the chief of pediatrics at Children's Hospital Oakland, said in a statement on Thursday.

According to KGO-TV, Dolan plans to go back to court Monday to file an extension and file a federal complaint against the hospital.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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