The mother of Jahi McMath, the 13-year-old Oakland girl declared brain dead by multiple neurologists more than three months ago, insisted Thursday that her daughter was "asleep" and "blossoming into a teenager."
Jahi was declared brain-dead Dec. 12 after complications during surgery three days earlier to remove her tonsils, adenoids and uvula at Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland.
Winkfield gave the interview from Philadelphia, where she was being honored Thursday night at the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network's awards gala for protecting a loved one "against overwhelming odds."
Describing her daughter as "very responsive," Winkfield told the TV station that Jahi has physical therapy three or four times a week and moves her head from side to side.
Winkfield acknowledged, though, that Jahi was unable to speak or squeeze her hand. She gives her daughter vitamins and fish oil herself "to feel useful."
Her comments come roughly a month after she posted similar comments on Facebook, saying Jahi had improved physically. Winkfield also thanked supporters for helping the family through an "unbelievably difficult time."
Bodies of the brain-dead have been maintained on respirators for months or, in rare cases, years. However, once cessation of all brain activity is confirmed, there is no recovery, Rebecca S. Dresser, professor of law and ethics in medicine at Washington University in St. Louis, told The Times.