The family of 13-year-old Jahi McMath is facing the agonizing decision whether to remove the young girl from life support after she was declared brain dead by the Oakland Children's Hospital in California. The family says that they feel pressured by the hospital to take Jahi off of life support.
Jahi underwent a routine tonsillectomy but suffered complications post-surgery, according to her mother, Nailah Winkfield.
"My daughter had actual clots sliding out of her mouth and they gave me a cup and said, 'here catch them with the cup so we can measure them,'" Winkfield told ABC News.
Jahi suffered cardiac arrest and was pronounced brain dead. Her family has been struggling with the decision to remove life support, and they say that their decision is being made even harder by the Oakland Children's Hospital staff, who are pressuring them to remove the girl from all equipment. They are not ready to say good-bye just yet and are angry at the hospital staff.
"They took away my granddaughter. That's how it feels," Sandra Chatman, Jahi's grandmother, told the Oakland Tribune.
"As long as she has a pulse, we want her on life support," Omari Sealey, Jahi's uncle, added. "We want her to come home for Christmas. We want to give her presents. We want a chance for a Christmas miracle."
The hospital has notified the family that Jahi will be removed from life support, regardless of their wishes, because of California law. Her brain death has been officially confirmed by two different doctors performing different tests three hours apart.
Jahi's stepfather, Marvin Winkfield, has reportedly asked everyone to "pray, pray, pray" for Jahi. He said he has faith that she will "get up" and is asking for everyone to have faith as well.
"We didn't want her to be removed from life support but the decision is out of our hands because it's been declared a legal death," Sealey told KTVU News. "Something terrible went wrong. We hope the hospital's investigation is conducted fairly and we get some answers."
The hospital refused to comment on the specific situation but Dr. David Durand, the chief of Children's pediatric department said that he was "reviewing her case very closely. Our hearts go out to her family and we want to support them during this extremely difficult time."
According to KTVU News, the coroner planned to pick up Jahi's body today, but the hospital said that they would not turn off the life support just yet, in order to give the family more time with their loved one. Doctors gave in to the family's request for one last EEG, but it's likely that after the results come back, her life support will be turned off.