California judge: Girl thought brain dead may still be alive

Posted at 10:00 AM, Sep 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-07 13:00:15-04

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - A Northern California judge says a teen girl declared brain dead more than three years ago after a tonsillectomy may still be technically alive.

The judge ruled Tuesday that Jahi McMath's lawsuit against Children's Hospital in Oakland can proceed and that it's up to a jury to decide whether the girl is dead. The hospital had argued that the girl was barred from seeking damages because the county coroner signed a death certificate in January 2014.

Typically, there is a $250,000 cap in California on the amount of damages that families of children killed by medical malpractice can collect.

The case has been at the center of national debate over brain death since her mother refused to remove her daughter from life-support. The girl was 13 at the time.

The girl is currently in New Jersey.