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Posted: October 04, 2014

Video appears to show 'brain-dead' girl move arm upon request

By David Stevenson

KTVU - Oakland


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The family of 13 year-old Jahi McMath on Friday presented video that they said is proof the girl was misdiagnosed as brain dead and should be declared alive.

The footage shows the girl lying in a bed as her mother coaxes her to wiggle her foot or her hand. And in at least two points in the video, it appears the girl responds to those commands.

"I talk to Jahi and she responds. So I said she can't be brain dead if she's responding," said McMath's mother Nailah Winkfield.  "Yesterday, I asked her to move her thumb and she moved her thumb for me."

Alameda County issued a death certificate after the girl suffered complications from sleep apnea surgery at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital in Oakland last December. Her family fought to keep her on life support and moved her to New Jersey. Lawyers for the family say EEG and MRI tests performed at Rutgers University Medical School show her brain has not liquefied under life support.

"She's had a severe brain injury but her brain is there," said attorney Chris Dolan. "Where Children's Hospital said she was rotting and it would come out her nose."

Jahi's family is now seeking an Alameda County Court order declaring the teen alive. The hope is that such an unprecedented declaration could pave the way for a move back to California, which might lead to her medical costs being covered by the state or the hospital.

A hearing in Alameda County Superior Court is set for October 9th. In a statement, Dr. David Durand, the Chief Medical Officer for UCSF, said "We trust that the California courts, the Alameda County Coroner and the State of California will evaluate any claims made by the family's attorneys and decide them in a lawful and just manner."

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