Contra Costa Times
OAKLAND — The attorney for the family of Jahi McMath told a Bay Area television station on Sunday morning that the brain-dead Oakland girl will be moved to a treatment facility before a Tuesday deadline “come hell or high water.”
Christopher Dolan told KPIX 5 that the family has lined up a facility, transportation and a medical staff for the 13-year-old, who has been hooked to a ventilator at Children’s Hospital Oakland since developing complications and suffering cardiac arrest after tonsil, nose and throat surgeries at the facility Dec. 9.
On Friday, the family and hospital agreed through a compromise forged in Alameda Superior Court that Jahi’s mother may remove her from the hospital as long as Jahi’s mother, Nailah Winkfield, takes responsibility for the child’s care.
“We have what we need right now,” Dolan told the station Sunday. “Everything is in place. We just need to get it moving.”
When pressed further, Dolan said the he has put into place “the medical staff, the facilities. We have transportation. We just need to get it all in motion. … Come hell or high water, that’s what I’m gonna do.”
His comments came as a 5 p.m. Tuesday deadline loomed to have Jahi transferred. A temporary restraining order granted by Judge Evelio Grillo forces the hospital to keep Jahi on a ventilator until then. After the deadline, the hospital may remove her from the ventilator if Jahi has not been moved.
Dolan did not immediately return multiple interview requests from this newspaper.
Hospital spokesman Sam Singer of Singer Associates Public Relations and Public Affairs in San Francisco said the facility has been made aware of the plan and the pledge made by Dolan to have Jahi in another facility.
“We are taking him at his word,” he said. “And we hope he keeps it.”
Dolan did not say where the facility was located or from where the transportation would be coming, but court documents revealed that the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network has been working to place her in a New York facility and that Georgia-based Medway Air Ambulance would provide the transportation.
A call to the Life & Hope Network went unanswered Sunday morning. An email to Medway Air Ambulance President Rick Moore was not answered immediately.
Court documents said the approximate cost to transport Jahi was just shy of $32,000; the Jahi McMath page at the gofundme.comwebsite said Tuesday that $47,842 had been raised for Jahi by Sunday morning.
Alameda County Sheriff’s Office spokesman J.D. Nelson said Friday that a death certificate has been issued for Jahi, but Dolan insisted in Sunday’s interview that “she has not passed. Her kidney’s function, she regulates her temperature, and her body moves now more than ever. This is a real human being, not a dead body.”
The hospital, however, continued to dispute that notion, as well as Dolan’s assertion that Children’s Hospital Oakland has “withheld food for 26 days,” the result of which has “kept Jahi (from receiving) nutrients that might help her brain to be at an optimum place” for recovery.
“Sadly … Mr. Dolan is not being truthful to the public or his clients,” Singer said. “When he says his ‘medical team’ wants to feed her body so her brain will have the optimum nutrients, he is either being purposely deceptive or ignorant. In either case, he is perpetuating a sad and tragic hoax on the public and the McMath family. Tragically, this young woman is dead and there is no food, no medical procedures and no amount of time that will bring back the deceased.”
The agreement states that the hospital will allow a transfer team to enter the facility and move out Jahi, with her entire health responsibility, and the responsibility of the move falling to the mother. Jahi’s tubes from the ventilator are to be removed and placed into the transport team’s equipment, along with other devices, and her body will be moved from the hospital’s gurney to a new one. Her medical records, medications and a status reports also will be handed over, and the hospital will sever ties with her, the agreement states.
“Now we have a clear path,” Dolan told the station. “When you have a clear path, you begin running, especially when time is ticking down.”
Contact Rick Hurd at 925-945-4789 and follow him atTwitter.com/3rdERH.