Girl at center of debate over brain death dies after surgery

Posted at 5:52 PM, Jun 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-28 20:53:28-04

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A family member says a girl at the center of the medical and religious debate over brain death has died after surgery.

The girl's mother Nailah Winkfield said Thursday that New Jersey doctors declared Jahi McMath dead from excessive bleeding and liver failure after an operation to treat an intestinal issue.

McMath had been in a vegetative state since December 2013, when a California coroner ruled that the 13-year-old girl died after suffering irreversible brain damage during an operation to remove her tonsils.

Winkfield refused to accept the conclusion and moved the girl to New Jersey, where she has been kept on life support and received care. The state accommodates religions that don't recognize brain death.

Winkfield acknowledged her daughter's dire medical condition but said her Christian beliefs compelled her to fight for care because the girl occasionally showed physical signs of life by twitching her finger or wriggling her toe.