Jahi McMath: Family, attorney release letter addressing critics
By Matthias Gafni
Contra Costa Times 12/28/2013 04:13:55 PM PST
The family of Jahi McMath and her attorney released a lengthy letter to the media Saturday addressing the transfer of the 13-year-old, critics and Children’s Hospital Oakland.
Jahi — who was declared brain dead by a handful of doctors after complications from a Dec. 9 tonsil surgery including the removal of throat and nose tissue — is on a ventillator at the hospital as her family tries to find a long-term care center for her. A judge has said the hospital can remove the ventillator at 5 p.m. Monday.
Here is the letter from the family and its attorney Christopher Dolan:
“Jahi’s family, her mother Nailah, her step father Marvin, her uncle Omari and her grandmother Sandy want to thank everyone who has sent them well wishes, prayers and offers of support both emotional and financial. We also wish to thank the nurses who have been kind to Jahi despite the hospitals stance towards her.
“We are pleased to announce that progress is being made as we speak. Our attorney is in discussions with two facilities that have expressed preliminary approval for accepting Jahi on a ventilator. One is in Southern California, the other is in New York.
“Yesterday, our lawyer, the hospital’s lawyer and the director of one of these facilities had a conference call so as to assure (Children’s Hospital Oakland) that the facility did indeed exist and was open to receiving Jahi. The hospital was provided the name of the facility, its location, and the contact information for the director who spoke with Attorney (Douglas) Strauss from the hospital.
“We are keeping the name of the facility private, and have asked The Hospital to do so as well, as we do not want media attention to interfere with the privacy of the patients at the care facility or interfere with the acceptance and transfer of Jahi. We are optimistic but are feeling ever anxious as the deadline of 5 p.m. Monday approaches.
“We appreciate the offers of financial support and they may indeed be needed to secure transport for Jahi. Right now we do not know what that transport will be or where it will take us/Jahi to. When the time comes we will announce where donations may be provided.
“We wish to acknowledge that Jahi’s case, and our stance regarding her right to life, and her mother’s right to make decisions regarding her child, has stirred a vibrant, sometimes polarizing, national debate. This was never our intention.
“We have our strong religious convictions and set of beliefs and we believe that, in this country, a parent has the right to make decisions concerning the existence of their child: not a doctor who looks only at lines on a paper, or reads the cold black and white words on a law that says “brain dead” and definitely not a doctor who runs the facility that caused the brain death in the first place.
“This discussion is an important one. When Jahi is safely moved we hope to have an opportunity to be able to offer more information on our perspective. We have received much support, and much criticism, regarding our decisions. People think we are naive about what the future holds for Jahi and our family. We are not ignorant. We understand that Jahi has suffered a tragic and perhaps irreversible catastrophic injury to her brain. We also understand that it should never of happened and we believe that Children’s is responsible.
“We acknowledge that the odds are stacked against us. We know that the doctors have pronounced her dead. We heard it shouted at us four times by Dr. (David) Durand. We know the darkness that likely lays ahead for us, for Jahi. We have heard the criticisms that we are harming Jahi and we need to just let go.
“We know that the hospital has hired Sam Singer, who, on his Web site, www.singersf.com, proudly claims the titles “the fixer” … “top gun for hire.” We know of the hospital’s public relations campaign to portray us as reckless, irresponsible, ignorant and uncaring of Jahi.
“We have heard the criticisms regarding Jahi’s weight, health, lifestyle, etc. We know they are blogging misinformation as part of “the fixer’s” damage control. We think this is truly sad and a reflection of what is wrong in America today; corporate misinformation by paid “guns for hire.”
“We have heard the criticisms that our lawyer, Mr. Dolan, is misleading us with false promises and he is irresponsibly encouraging us to keep our brain-damaged child alive. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
“We asked for help because we felt our rights were being trampled by Children’s and that they were going to override a mother’s medical directive for their own interests, damage control. Our lawyer has helped us, day and night, for free.
“He has said he will not represent us in a negligence action so that his motives are not challenged. Right now he is trying to broker release for Jahi to a facility that will see her as being worthy of feeding, caring for. He has helped us where we could not help ourselves. He has encouraged and fostered discussions with health care providers who have painted the bleak picture of what lays ahead of us.
“He has not given us any hope, much less false hope, other than that hope that we get from having Jahi’s heart beating one more day. He has never misled us and he is only being attacked because Children’s and their “hit man” need someone to play the villain besides themselves. Lawyers should never have been necessary but we are glad one was willing to help us when we were helpless.
“So, we are working every minute to preserve our rights and Jahi’s existence. It is our fundamental constitutional right as it would be yours should this horror ever befall you; something I do not wish on anyone, ever.
“We hope that by this time (Sunday) we will have a path toward Jahi’s removal and we will have preserved whatever chance she, and we, have of her achieving any recovery. In the meantime, we would ask that the hospital and it’s “top gun for hire” focus less on trying to paint us in a negative light and focus, instead, upon working with us so we can be gone from this place with Jahi’s heart still beating.”
The Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version Matthew 25.31-46 31: “When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32: Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33: and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left. 34: Then the King will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35: for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36: I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37: Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? 38: And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? 39: And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?’ 40: And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’ 41: Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42: for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43: I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44: Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to thee?’ 45: Then he will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.’ 46: And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”