Jahi McMath Suit Tells Brutal Tale of Surgery Gone Wrong

Mother was pushed to donate McMath's organs while she prayed
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 4, 2015 10:33 AM CST
Jahi McMath Suit Tells Brutal Tale of Surgery Gone Wrong
Nailah Winkfield, left, and Omari Sealey, right, the mother and uncle of Jahi McMath, listen to doctors speak during a news conference Oct. 3, 2014, in San Francisco.   (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

As Jahi McMath, declared brain-dead in 2013, remains hooked up to machines in New Jersey, her family is filing suit against the Oakland hospital where her surgery for sleep apnea went terribly wrong, the San Jose Mercury News reports. The suit against UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland and surgeon Frederick Rosen presents a disturbing account of the family's experience: Vast quantities of blood poured from the teen's mouth after her tonsillectomy and requests for a doctor were delayed before the hospital insisted McMath was dead and urged the family to donate her organs. Rosen, the suit alleges, didn't tell nurses that McMath had an abnormal throat artery that made surgery more dangerous.

Within half an hour of the surgery, the girl was coughing up "buckets of blood," according to the Mercury News account of the suit. When she began to bleed, the filing holds, nurses said it was "normal," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. A nurse said the blood should be suctioned, but an hour into the process, another nurse said that was highly dangerous, the suit says. Hours after the family sought a doctor, one arrived, allegedly saying "(expletive), her heart stopped." Days later, tests showed no brain function. Hospital workers, the suit says, pushed the family to donate McMath's organs, even raising the matter while her mother was praying in a hospital chapel. "What is it you don't understand?" the hospital's pediatrics head allegedly said at one point. "She is dead, dead, dead, dead." (More Jahi McMath stories.)

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