Jahi McMath, shown in an undated photo provided by her family.(Associated Press)
The body of a 13-year-old girl declared brain dead after sleep apnea surgery was released from an Oakland hospital Sunday evening, hospital officials said.
Jahi McMath’s body was released by Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland to the Alameda County coroner, according to a statement from David Durand, the hospital’s chief of pediatrics.
The coroner, Durand said, released Jahi’s body to her mother, Nailah Winkfield, “as per court order, for a destination unknown.”
“Our hearts go out to the family as they grieve for this sad situation and we wish them closure and peace,” Durand said.
Christopher Dolan, attorney for Jahi McMath’s family, in an interview with the Associated Press, wouldn’t specify where the girl was taken but said “they are going to care for her, respect her and love her. And they’re going to call her Jahi, not `the body.”’
The Alameda County coroner’s office issued a death certificate Friday, listing Dec. 12 as Jahi’s date of death, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Hospital officials said they could not comment on the state of Jahi’s body when it was released.
Jahi suffered complications including heavy bleeding, cardiac arrest and “whole brain death” – defined as an irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brain, including the brainstem – on Dec. 12, three days after the surgery.
Two hospital physicians and multiple outside doctors requested by the family deemed her brain-dead, court records show, and the county coroner was notified.
Jahi’s family protested the hospital’s intention to remove her from a ventilator, saying she was not dead and that her heart was still beating.