Jahi McMath, Girl at Center of Debate Over Brain-Death, Dies

Jahi McMath, an Oakland, California, teenager whose brain-death following routine tonsil surgery in 2013 created a debate among medical ethicists over when life ends, has died. McMath was 13 when she underwent surgery, but complications meant she started to bleed, went into cardiac arrest, and was later declared brain-dead. A battle ensued between the hospital, which wanted to remove Jahi from a ventilator, and her family, who fought in court to keep her alive, despite doctors declaring her medically dead. She was released from hospital in January 2014 and the family transferred her to an undisclosed location for care. McMath died late last week when an operation to treat an intestinal issue led to excessive bleeding and liver failure, according to her mother, Nailah Winkfield. “Jahi wasn’t brain-dead or any kind of dead,” Winkfield told the Associated Press. “She was a girl with a brain injury, and she deserved to be cared for like any other child who had a brain injury.” Jahi, who was 17 when she died, will be buried in California.