With the clock winding down on a court order keeping 13-year-old Jahi McMath on a ventilator, medical ethicists say the public drama over the brain-dead girl has fueled a misconception that her condition is somehow treatable.
Multiple doctors, including a Stanford neurologist, have concluded that Jahi is brain-dead -- the result of complications from having her tonsils removed at Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland early this month. But her parents have fought to keep her on a ventilator, telling reporters they believe "there's still life there."
Jahi's family has been trying to find a facility to take her in but have so far been unsuccessful. Two facilities in Southern California reportedly withdrew their offers, and a family attorney is said to be in talks with a care center in New York.
The attorney, Chris Dolan, told NBC Bay Area that the family views the New York site as its "last, last hope."
Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland has said it is willing to work with the family but said any transfer would have to be approved by the county coroner.
In a court petition seeking to rescind an order keeping Jahi on a ventilator, attorneys for the hospital argued that because Jahi is dead, "practically and legally," there is no course of medical treatment to administer.
The court order keeping Jahi on a ventilator will expire at 5 p.m. Monday, unless the family is successful in seeking an injunction.
During the Dec. 9 surgery to remove her tonsils, Jahi went into cardiac arrest, and the flow of oxygen to her brain was cut off. She was declared brain-dead after three tests showed there was no "cerebral activity," according to court records.