Why Jahi McMath’s mom is sure her daughter isn’t brain dead
Months earlier, Jahi McMath, then 13, had been declared brain dead and become a household name as a legal battle to take her off life support was splashed across headlines nationwide.
(ABC News) – Nailah Winkfield said she will never forget giving her teenage daughter permission to die as she lay motionless and on a ventilator.
Months earlier,** Jahi McMath, then 13, had been declared brain dead and become a household name as a legal battle to take her off life support was splashed across headlines nationwide. Winkfield and her family won the battle and moved Jahi from California to a long-term care facility in New Jersey,** but on this particular day, Winkfield didn’t think her daughter wanted to hold on any longer, she said.
“You have my permission to go. I don’t want you here if you’re suffering,” Winkfield recalled telling Jahi, her voice breaking. “If you can hear me and you want to live, move your right hand.”
To Winkfield’s shock, Jahi obeyed, she said. So Winkfield asked her to move her left hand. She did that, too, Winkfield said.
“That was the first time I knew that she could hear me,” Winkfield said. “It took me to cry for her to move.”
As Winkfield recently described in an open letter to supporters, “Jahi is physically stable. All of her organs are fully functional [and] her skin is flawless.” After inspecting her latest medical records,* two respected neurologists testified in sworn declarations that she is not brain dead. Video released by her family shows her moving her arm and foot on command.*** A recent MRI showed severe brain damage, “but it also shows brain structure and blood flow,” Winkfield noted.
*One year after callous and overconfident members of the medical and media establishments wrote Jahi’s life off, the now 14-year-old girl is surrounded by the love and care of her mom, dedicated medical professionals, and vigilant advocates for life.
Lawyer Christopher Dolan continues to battle the state of California to reverse the “brain death” designation in court. Volunteers maintain a Facebook page to share updates on Jahi’s progress. And with the help of the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network, Life Legal Defense, Angela Clemente & Associates, The Wrongful Death & Injury Institute, New Beginnings, and others who helped transfer her away from death-wish docs in California, Jahi will mark Christmas this year at a long-term-care facility in New Jersey.*