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Jahi McMath's mother still holds out hope for brain-dead daughter

Courts and the Judiciary

The family of 13-year-old Jahi McMath hoped to move the brain-dead girl out of an Oakland hospital and into another medical facility after the two sides reached an agreement.

Though a court and hospital officials say Jahi is brain dead, her mother, Nailah Winkfield, still holds out hope and claims the girl is "improving."

"I will always fight for Jahi until she is ready to go, her own self. I can't play God. She's going to get better or she's not, but I see her getting better," Winkfield told reporters Friday night, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The facility was not immediately identified, and although the girl can be moved while on a ventilator, her mother will take full responsibility for Jahi during the transfer, including in the event that the teen's heart stops beating, under an agreement reached Friday.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo, however, refused the McMath family's request for hospital doctors or another physician to insert feeding and tracheostomy tubes for the move.

PHOTOS: The Jahi McMath case

Christopher Dolan, attorney for the McMath family, would not discuss when Jahi would be moved.

Jahi suffered heavy bleeding, cardiac arrest and "whole brain death" -- defined as an irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem -- on Dec. 12, three days after complex tonsillectomy surgery.

Two hospital physicians and three outside doctors requested by the family deemed her brain-dead, court records show, and the county coroner was notified of the death. But the family protested the hospital's intention to remove Jahi from a ventilator.

An independent physician named by Grillo last week corroborated the determination that Jahi is legally dead, saying that testing showed no blood flow to the brain, no ability to breathe without the ventilator and no sign of electrical activity in her brain.

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