Jahi McMath, 13, suffered complications after a tonsillectomy.
(Photo: Family photo via AP)
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - A federal judge on Thursday ordered settlement
talks between lawyers for a California hospital and a 13-year-old
California girl declared brain dead after tonsil surgery.
federal magistrate will oversee the mandatory talks on Friday between
representatives of Children's Hospital Oakland and the family of Jahi
McMath, U.S. District Judge Saundra Brown said. Settlement conferences
are usually scheduled to expedite court cases or to end them without a
The hospital and Jahi's mother are locked in a harrowing
clash over the girl's care. Children's maintains that Jahi is legally
dead and that the ventilator keeping her heart pumping should be
removed. A state judge originally ordered the hospital to keep the
ventilator in place until Dec. 30 at 5 p.m., but an hour before the
deadline agreed to extend it until Jan. 7.
The girl's mother,
Nailah Winkfield, wants to transfer her to another facility and force
the hospital to either to fit Jahi with the breathing and feeding tubes
she would need to be moved safely or to allow an outside doctor to
perform the surgical procedures.
"At this point, Jahi has not had
nutrition for nearly three weeks. She is in desperate need of a
tracheostomy tube and a gastric tube," Winkfield's lawyer, Christopher
Dolan, wrote in a motion filed with Judge Brown on Thursday. "The
defendant has responded that ... they will not allow such a procedure to
be done and will not write discharge instructions that instruct a
physician to carry out such orders."
Although another federal
judge, Chief U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilkens, already has refused to
order the hospital to insert the requested gastric and tracheostomy
tubes, the dispute over the procedures is likely to figure prominently
in Friday's talks.
The hospital's lawyer, Douglas Straus, has said
doctors have no legal obligation to operate on the body of a dead
person, but that the matter remains irrelevant for now because the
family has not named a doctor who is willing to put in the tubes or a
facility capable of caring for Jahi.
The issue also is being
considered by the state judge who so far has blocked Children's Hospital
from removing Jahi's ventilator. Alameda County Superior Court Evelio
Grillo has scheduled a hearing for Friday morning so he can speak with
the opposing sides about how to handle that part of the case.
Check out some of our most read stories from 2013:
#shortyellows: Florida quietly shortened yellow lights
Terrorism Warning: Memo says terrorists practicing dry-runs on Florida flights
Kittens shot: Officer shoots kittens in front of children
Courtroom apology: Woman apologizes for flipping off judge
Weird ice: Strange, giant circles appear on frozen pond
Controversial Club: College student organizes "White Student Union"
CFO Trouble: School administrative chief in trouble over her porn sex blog
Warning Shot Wife: Mother gets 20 years for firing warning shots at abusive husband
Science Arrest: Teen girl arrested over science project explosion
Wait, WHAT?? Dog shoots man in the leg with a handgun
Popular photo galleries:
Faces of Meth: Devastating before and after photos of meth abusers
Travon Martin Shooting: Trayvon Martin crime scene photos and George Zimmerman injury photos
Hooters Winners: Winners of the 2013 Hooters swimsuit pageant
Rejected: Funny Florida license plates rejected by the DMV ***warning graphic***
Deadly sinkhole: Home collapses, man dies in giant sinkhole
Florida Sex Offenders: Look up sex offenders in any Florida neighborhood here
Restaurant Inspections: Look up inspection reports for any Florida restaurant here