Girl Brain Dead After Tonsillectomy
On Monday, December 9th, 13-year-old Jahi McMath had her tonsils and adenoids removed at Children’s Hospital Oakland in California to help resolve a hereditary sleep apnea problem.
Post-surgery, it became obvious that something was wrong. Jahi experienced difficulty breathing. Family members and hospital staff also observed nose and mouth bleeding and blood-clotting. Soon after, Jahi experienced cardiac arrest and had to be resuscitated and put on a ventilator.
On Monday, December 16th, hospital doctors confirmed that Jahi is legally brain dead. They then informed her family that under California state law they are required to remove her from life support. The hospital gave the McMaths an additional day to sit with her before a scheduled shutdown of life support today.
Her family though believe that Jahi died because the hospital staff did not provide appropriate care or respond quickly enough when post-surgery complications started. The Chief of Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital Oakland, Dr. David Durand, and hospital administrative staff are investigating.
Death after a tonsillectomy is not entirely unheard of in modern medicine. Even with advances in technology, tonsillectomy surgery techniques and post-operative care, there is on average one death per every 25,000 surgeries each year.
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