The attorney who successfully fought in court to keep 13-year-old Jahi McMath on a ventilator at an Oakland hospital for weeks after she was declared brain dead defended his actions this week, calling the case a fight for family rights.
Christopher Dolan has been widely criticized as having fed false hope to the McMath family that somehow their daughter -- declared brain dead by at least three neurologists and issued a death certificate by the Alameda County coroner -- will recover.
But in an interview with the Bay Area's KNTV-TV posted on Friday, Dolan rebuked those accusations, saying he only became involved in the case to fight for the McMath family's rights.
"One thing that's really offended me, I mean really offended me, is that I am misleading this family, that I'm giving them false hope," he said. "Well that means that this family is dumb, and I really resent that. That somehow they're going to be hoodwinked by some lawyer that's manipulating them. These are smart people."
Dolan also took some heat when Santa Monica-based Consumer Watchdog sent out a fundraising appeal saying that, because of a state-imposed $250,000 cap on pain-and-suffering awards in medical malpractice lawsuits, hospitals have an incentive "to let children like Jahi die."
Dolan -- a board member for Consumer Attorneys of California, the main group funding a campaign to lift medical malpractice awards cap -- told local media he did not condone using Jahi to score political points or raise money.
Jahi underwent surgery Dec. 9 to remove her tonsils, adenoids and uvula at Children's Hospital Oakland. She was declared brain-dead three days later after going into cardiac arrest and suffering extensive hemorrhaging in her brain.
[For the Record, 12:25 p.m. PST, Jan. 10, 2014: An earlier version of this post referred to Dolan as a board member for Consumer Watchdog. He is a board member for Consumer Attorneys of California.]