Nailah Winkfield (pictured) — whose daughter Jahi McMath (pictured) underwent what should have been a routine surgery two weeks ago to remove her tonsils, but wound up brain-dead — has now released an open letter about her 13-year-old daughter, reports KTVU.
The case involving the teen on life support is still under investigation. The hospital maintains that Jahi’s condition is irreversible. Since tests have proven that her entire brain has stopped functioning, the hospital legally no longer has to keep her on life support. The McMath family, however, wants to transfer the child to a nursing home so that she can continue to receive care.
Meanwhile, a judge this week gave the hospital permission to remove the girl’s ventilator after 5 p.m. Monday, so Winkfield still has time to appeal. The McMath family lawyer, Christopher Dolan, has asked the hospital for cooperation in preparing Jahi to be moved to the home — which requires them to surgically insert breathing and feeding tubes into the girl — but the family has not heard back from them as of Thursday afternoon.
After Jahi’s tonsillectomy, she began to bleed profusely and went into cardiac arrest. The little girl was declared brain-dead on December 12.
Now Winkfield, who is asking for prayers because she believes that miracles do happen, has written an open letter to the world about the nightmare she has undergone as a mother:
I am a mother. She is my daughter. I am alive. Despite what they say, she is alive. I can touch her, she is warm. She responds to my touch. I can love her – I can feel her love. When she was in my belly I fell in love with her. Her heartbeat for the beginning of her life was my heartbeat until God, through a miracle, sparked her heart into existence. Given time, I know he will spark her brain awake.
She is Jahi, a name that means known by many. If she knew about all this attention she would blush. She is very shy.
My daughter sits on life support. I feel like she is on death row. The clock is ticking — ticking down. Children’s Hospital Oakland says she is dead. She was not dead when I brought her here on December 9th for a routine tonsillectomy. I put her in their hands, now they want to wash their hands of her.
Jahi had an operation. I was told it went well. Then she started bleeding from her mouth. They gave me a cup for her to bleed into and said it was normal. She bled more and more. I couldn’t keep up with it. I asked for help, they gave me a bigger bucket. She bled more. They did not answer our pleas for a doctor. Her surgeon never came back. She had a heart attack and her heart stopped beating. Then they came — then. They shocked her back into life. Now they say she is dead.
Before the surgery she said I am scared mommy. I said why Jahi? She said I am afraid I won’t wake up. I told her it was going to be fine, it was a simple procedure. I should have listened to her.
She is on a respirator — with air she lives, her heart beats, her kidneys produce urine, she is warm and soft. They have been pressuring me to “pull the plug.” I can’t. I won’t. I can’t let them kill my baby a second time.
I am fighting for her life. Each breath the vent gives her one more chance to live and gets her one step closer to the hospital’s deadline. What a word. I never thought they could tell me, her mother, they were going to pull the plug, take her body to the morgue and send us home on Christmas while she lays in a freezer. She is warm now. I want my baby to be warm. We need time.
The Hospital says she is legally dead. That they can legally stop her breathing. I am not a lawyer. We called many in the middle of the night Monday as they were coming to unplug her Tuesday night. One answered the call. We stopped them. Every day is a struggle. We fight for Jahi. We have a temporary restraining order until Monday – then the Judge can say my baby is legally dead and Children’s can unplug her. It doesn’t matter what I say. I never thought I would have to go to court to get a hospital to treat my child.
Hold your children tight. Tell them you love them. I tell my daughter over and over. I know she can hear me. If she has any brain activity when they do the independent tests she will be kept alive. Pray for my daughter Jahi, pray that she will get better so they don’t kill her. Pray for me, mothers, that my love can bring her life once more.