One day shy of the Statute of Limitations running out, notes medical malpractice experts Berkowitz and Hanna LLC, a California family is suing their teen’s doctor and the hospital where she went into cardiac arrest for negligence and wrongful death.
In December 2013, thirteen-year-old Jahi McMath’s heart stopped at Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland, California, after complications from a surgery to cure her sleep apnea. Although doctors declared the girl brain dead, her parents took legal action to have her transferred to a long-term care facility in New Jersey, where she remains on life support and allegedly responds to basic commands by moving her arms and legs.
The complaint alleges the doctor was negligent in the standard of care for treating the girl’s sleep apnea, opting for invasive surgery. Allegedly noting that she might have a malformed carotid artery, which could cause hemorrhaging, he failed to inform the medical staff. Post surgery, Jahi was coughing up blood and lost an estimated 3+ pints. Hours later, her heart stopped and the doctor tried reviving her for over two hours, but did not perform an emergency tracheotomy. The staff allegedly pumped about two liters of blood from her lungs. In the days following, Jahi’s parents were informed that she had “sustained significant brain damage,” and placed her on the organ donor list, with preparations being made to take her off life support. The family is suing for personal injuries, negligent infliction of personal distress and wrongful death.
Berkowitz and Hanna LLC would point out that the lawsuit is based on the premise that Jahi effectively died when she became brain dead in December 2013—which is contrary to her parents’ repeated statements that Jahi is not indeed brain dead. This interesting lawsuit is pending.
Note: Berkowitz and Hanna LLC did not represent any of the parties in this case.